Skip to main content

Full text of "Swatantra Party and Indian conservatism"

See other formats


Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 





These monographs are published by the Syndics of Cambridge 
University Press in association with the Cambridge University 
Centre for South Asian Studies. The following books have 
been published in this series : 

Gopal, S., British Policy in India, 1858-190$ 

Palmer, J. A. B., The Mutiny Outbreak at Meerut in 1857 

Obeyesekere, G., Land Tenure in Village Ceylon 

Das Gupta, A., Malabar in Asian Trade, 17 40-1800 






Assistant Professor of Government 
Dartmouth College, U.S.A. 




Published by the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press 

Bentley House, 200 Euston Road, London, N.W.i 
American Branch: 32 East 57th Street, New York, N.Y. 10022 

Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number: 67-27128 

Printed in Great Britain 

at the University Printing House, Cambridge 

(Brooke Crutchley, University Printer) 






Preface P a S e Lx 

i Comments on Conservatism i 

2 Indian Right- Wing Politics: Social and Doctrinal 10 

3 Indian Right- Wing Politics : Political Parties 4 6 

4 The Birth of a Party 65 

5 The Swatantra * Inner Circle' 82 

6 The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 109 

7 The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 147 

8 Swatantra Doctrine 188 

9 Electoral Adjustments 2I2 

10 Swatantra: Achievements, Problems, and Prospects 245 


1 A Note on the 1967 Elections 261 

11 Tables 2<s 9 

Notes 2 7 8 

Bibliography 34° 

Index 353 



This book is about the background, emergence, and growth of one 
Indian political party which came into existence in mid-1959 and 
which, at the time of writing, had by no means reached the stage 
where an epitaph was in order. Counsels of prudence might, 
therefore, have dictated a postponement in the writing and publi- 
cation of this volume, until more data were available and the dust 
had settled somewhat. Still, some students of politics rush in 
where historians fear to tread; but there seems considerable 
justification for such apparent rashness. For one thing, nothing of 
any consequence has been written about the Swatantra Party, one 
of the major political forces in India from 1959 to 1966, at least; 
and for another— and more important— very little has been written 
on the general subject of conservative politics in India. By pro- 
viding considerable background material and by emphasizing 
factors more enduring than who happens to be second vice- 
president at a particular time, an attempt has been made to give 
this book more 'staying power' than it might seem to have at first 
glance. Readers, and time, will tell. 

This being said, it is still true that since this book was first 
drafted, a distressingly large number of Swatantra luminaries 
have died or left the party, requiring some substantial revisions of 
the text. At some points— as in the creation of the new states of the 
Punjab and Haryana— insufficient material could be mustered, 
and the text was allowed to stand, despite new developments. 
Only benevolent intervention from on high could assure that the 
final text, as it last left the typewriter, would in most substantial 
respects be up-to-date at the time of publication. The reader's 
indulgence is begged if he has to keep current Times of India 
cuttings inside the cover of the book. 

Under these circumstances, it may only be an embarrassment to 
those whose help is appreciated to have their names mentioned 
here. Still, I should like to express my deepest gratitude to 
Professors Lloyd and Susanne Rudolph (now of the University of 
Chicago) and to Dr Harrington Moore, Jr., who painstakingly and 
affectionately— but with often distressingly honest criticism- 
directed the Harvard University dissertation upon which this book 



is based; and these same people have been involved subsequently 
in its wholesale revision. Thanks are due also to Professor Myron 
Weiner, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who read the 
manuscript in toto and who rendered valuable criticism as well as 
encouragement and who generously made available some pertinent 
manuscript material of his own; and to my Dartmouth colleagues, 
Professors Henry Ehrmann, Kalman Silvert, and Vincent Star- 
zinger, who have given valuable aid and encouragement at various 
important junctures. Debts of gratitude are also due to Harvard 
University and the Fulbright Foundation for jointly sponsoring a 
year of research in India in 1962-3; to Professor R. Bhaskaran of 
the University of Madras, who was of much help during that year; 
to the Comparative Studies Center, Dartmouth College, for sup- 
port of research time in 1964-5 and for supplementing a grant 
from the American Institute of Indian Studies, to make possible a 
second trip to India in 1966-7, when much up-dating was under- 

In India, too, splendid co-operation was forthcoming from 
officials and members of the Swatantra Party, too numerous to 
mention to the last man here. I would be remiss in my duty, 
however, if I did not thank Mr M. R. Masani, General-Secretary 
of the Swatantra Party, for authorizing the opening of certain party 
files for my benefit; his able executive assistant, Mr S. V. Raju, 
for steering me through those files and for providing much valuable 
information both while I was in the United States and in India; 
Mr A. P. Jain of the Swatantra parliamentary office, for similar 
assistance; Mr Noorul Arfin, personal assistant to the Raja of 
Ramgarh, for keeping a steady stream of information about Bihar 
and Orissa affairs flowing to me; and Major Thakur Raghubir 
Singh of Bissau, not only for similar help but also for his kindness 
in allowing me to use his Jaipur home as research headquarters and 
residence for six hectic weeks. I know that much that I have already 
written on Swatantra has not met with the approval of many party 
members who were generous with their time and help, and this 
book will doubtless be cause for further distress. I only hope, at 
least, that I have not abused their confidence in any way. 

Thanks are also due to the editors of Asian Survey, Pacific 
Affairs, and the Journal of Developing Areas for allowing me to 
reproduce material from my articles which appeared earlier in their 
publications; and to the Hutchinson Publishing Group, Ltd., for 


allowing me to reproduce the tables from Professor W. H. 
Morris- Jones' Government and Politics of India. 

Finally, as research assistant-critic-typist-indexer, my wife 
Joan, and my young daughter Karen, deserve affectionate mention. 
The former, in addition to her work, has submitted twice to 
travelling almost ceaselessly throughout India, while at the same 
time being something of a book- writer's widow. The latter in- 
variably brought good humour into sundry oppressively serious 
offices, to good advantage. And this book is dedicated to my 
parents, whose many sacrifices made my education possible. 

Baroda, India H. L. E. 

December 1966 



AIAF All-India Agriculturalists' Federation 

AICC All-India Congress Committee 

COC Central Organizing Committee (of the Swatantra Party) 

CPI Communist Party of India 

CSP Congress Socialist Party 

DK Dravida Kazagham 

DMK Dravida Munnetra Kazagham 

FFE Forum of Free Enterprise 

FICCI Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and 

INDC Indian National Democratic Congress 

IPLP Independent Progressive Legislature Party 

KLP Krishikar Lok Paksh 

MLA Member of (state) legislative assembly 

MP Member of Parliament 

PEPSU Patiala and Eastern Punjab States Union 

PSP Praja Socialist Party 

RRP Ram Rajya Parishad 

RSS Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh 

UP Uttar Pradesh 




The formation of the Swatantra Party in 1959 represented an effort 
on the part of some of India's most distinguished public figures 
to build a ' non-leftist ' opposition to the ruling Congress Party. 
This book is intended, first and foremost, to describe in detail the 
background, genesis, and subsequent development of Swatantra. 
It is, to use some current terminology, a study of 'interest aggrega- 
tion' in India. 1 In addition, however, this study will also define 
what type of non-leftist party Swatantra has or is likely to become. 
To be more specific, the relationship of Swatantra to Indian 
conservatism is used as the principal focal point. Other approaches 
could easily have been taken, but this one seemed the most fruitful, 
given the present state of the literature on Indian politics. 2 

conservatism: common usage and 
common problems 

The term conservatism is, however, sufficiently ambiguous that 
some mention must be made of its usage here. To be sure, con- 
servatism (as etymology suggests) denotes a response to a challenge, 
a response which seeks to preserve, conserve, sustain, etc. It is 
evident, too, that the frame of reference must be that which 
actually exists — otherwise the idea of conserving would not be 
relevant. Thus, Huntington, emphasizing the doctrinal aspect, 
defines conservatism as 'the ideological justification of established 
social and political institutions ' in response to ' a clear and present 
danger to the institutions'. 3 Granting that defenders of established 
institutions generally do advance some ideological justification, we 
shall not insist upon this here; nor shall we employ a distinction 
between traditionalism (non-ideological) and conservatism (ideo- 
logical) as is sometimes done. 4 

These minor points do not, however, get to the heart of the 
difficulty in using the term conservatism. Huntington's definition 
is intended to cover any group which defends any established 
institutions, no matter how divergent these groups or institutions 
may be. This is akin to Michels' 'technically political' usage of 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

conservatism, which 'means a tendency to maintain the status quo 
regardless of what that may be'. In this sense, the word is 'devoid 
of philosophical content, and one may logically designate as con- 
servative the most disparate parties and factions'. 5 As Friedrich 
puts it, 'conservatism shows very diverse forms in different 
countries at different times, for it is by definition concerned with 
maintaining the existing order. . .Hence the programmatic view- 
point, the ideal objectives of conservatives are variable in the 
extreme'. 6 Oakeshott insists that conservatism is not 'connected 
with any particular beliefs about the universe, about the world in 
general or about human conduct in general', and he adds further 
that 'what is esteemed is the present; and it is esteemed not on 
account of its connections with a remote antiquity [pace Burke], 
nor because it is recognised to be more admirable than any possible 
alternative, but on account of its familiarity...' 7 One logical 
corollary of such views, with Michels, is that 'a party conservative 
in this sense may in the past have been revolutionary and without 
any change of theoretical position. . .may have become technically 
conservative on the successful completion of the revolution'. 8 

Needless to say, the implications of such an approach have 
troubled many writers; and even some of those just cited have 
provided alternative approaches which restrict the meaning of 
conservatism somewhat. Mannheim would limit its use to the 
ideological response of one class (the aristocracy) at one point in 
time. 9 Others are less restrictive and less precise but also strive for 
limitation. Michels talks of a second approach to conservatism in 
which it has a 'philosophical use and meaning' and 'in which case 
it implies a particular Weltanschauung'; 10 Oakeshott insists that 
'to be conservative is to be disposed to think and behave in certain 
manners; it is to prefer certain kinds of conduct and certain condi- 
tions of human existence to others; it is to be disposed to make 
certain kinds of choices ' ; n and Viereck cites distinctive attitudes 
toward 'human nature, history, tradition, and the tempo of 
change'. 12 In general, a conservative is seen to prefer stability and 
prefers change which is gradual and which maintains continuity; 
he will himself decline to be an important innovator and will place 
the burden of proof on those who favour change; he will be 
sceptical of the power of reasoning even among a given society's 
best talents and he will be sceptical of the reliability of the 'masses ', 
unless properly led; and he will, to use Viereck's words, engage in 

Comments on Conservatism 

' spiritual arithmetic ', calculating the moral price paid for material 
progress. 13 This narrows the scope of conservatism, along the 
lines of current usage, but it does not establish a precise definition in 
terms of which this study can be easily and unambiguously located. 

Whatever the ultimate merits of alternative approaches may be, 
it will have to suffice for present purposes to indicate the approach 
taken here. First, conservatism is primarily (if not exclusively, 
with Mannheim) associated with the aristocratic defence of the 
feudal-agrarian ancien regime. Secondly, conservatism has also 
come to refer to middle-class resistance to more radical, lower- 
class demands. This, for example, follows Friedrich's view that 
conservatism 'is primarily compounded of the groups and interests 
who happen to be "in possession", the "haves". . . \ 14 This does 
not mean that all individuals at a given social level and at a given 
point in time resort to the same actions or doctrinal formulations ; 
nor does it mean that only those ' in possession ' are relevant to a 
study of conservatism. It means only that historically the two 
principal manifestations of conservatism have been associated in 
gross terms and in terms of leadership with the aristocracy on the 
one hand and propertied middle-class interests on the other. 

Put somewhat differently, we shall follow the lines suggested by 
Silvert, who said that it may safely be assumed that 'groups which 
have would like to keep what they have' but that before we can 
translate this into meaningful terms, we need to know 'what they 
think they will permit themselves to do toward that end. . ., how 
much real power they have relative to other social groups . . . , and 
the actual state of the competitive situation in which they find 
themselves \ 15 Moore's seminal work and the best of the Marxist 
literature certainly proceed along these lines; 16 and only through 
an examination of such issues can the nature (e.g. the intensity, 
cohesion, substance, effectiveness, latent potential) of a given 
conservative response be fully intelligible. Thus, the present 
study will locate certain key groups 'in possession' and it will 
examine in some historical detail the process of challenge and 
response as it has affected these groups and the manner in which 
they interact. 

This having been said, there are still certain problems. What if 
divergent traditions exist within the same country, and what if 
different social and political institutions exist side-by-side, on a 
territorially segmented basis? What if an aristocracy is not fully 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

supplanted by a middle-class group and a more radical movement 
arises to challenge both? Are the defenders of diverse traditions 
within the same political unit equally conservative, or can we differ- 
entiate among them? Are all opponents of radical regimes on the 
same footing, or can we differentiate among them? 

Many of the sources already cited reflect this problem. Hunting- 
ton states that the French middle classes 'had to face in two 
directions' and ' expounded liberal ideas against the aristocrats and 
conservative ideas against the masses 5 . 17 Similarly, Friedrich states 
that the liberals, after challenging the ancien regime, found that 
'the more radical socialist elements' were becoming 'the effective 
opposition'; and at that point, the liberal movement 'begins to 
adopt a defensive attitude, and insofar as it does, it becomes 
conservative'. 18 These writers surely do not mean that the views of 
the aristocratic and middle-class interests were identical, yet at 
least in some situations both groups are termed conservative. 
Viereck takes a perhaps more helpful line by stating only that 
conservatives and liberals may join hands for certain purposes, 
while they 'will continue to differ about human nature, history, 
tradition, and the tempo of change'. 19 Certainly if both aristo- 
cratic and middle-class interests exist side-by-side, sometimes in 
opposition to one another and sometimes associated in resisting 
radical demands, we must maintain some distinction between 
them. And even if one privileged class seemingly abandons its 
claims against another, in pursuit of a common effort against 
radical demands, we must surely emphasize the element of latent 
conflict, which, under changed circumstances, could become 
manifest. Such an approach is indispensable, if we are to make 
sense out of the Indian case. 

Another area of ambiguity concerns the possibility of divergent 
approaches by the same individual or group to change in social, 
economic, and political spheres. What, for example, if an aristocrat 
mechanizes previously traditionally farmed estates or establishes 
modern industrial enterprises, while still insisting on the divine 
right of aristocrats to dominate society? Is such an aristocrat con- 
servative or not? One could attempt to define some 'average' or 
general tendency, embracing all public views, but this would 
obscure much that is important. Alternatively, one could emphasize 
a single factor, as, for example, the overall power relationships 
among major social groups. Such an approach seems more 

Comments on Conservatism 

satisfactory than the previous one, but it has deficiencies of its own, 
viz. it might fail to point up adequately the differences between 
technologically progressive traditional elites and those who were 
not, and between those who were 'Tory democrats' and those 
who were not. An approach which did not specify such dis- 
tinctions would be of limited value; and it would seem more useful 
to indicate views on social, economic, and political matters, 
indicating both departures from and adherence to tradition in 
each area, with due attention to the impact on the overall pattern 
of power relationships. 

Implicit in many of the preceding remarks is one final problem 
which must be noted here in preliminary fashion: the use of con- 
servative and often allied terms such as reactionary and rightist. 
Huntington, for example, states that 'in France ... aristocratic 
thought, once conservative, rapidly became reactionary and 
eventually became radical'. 20 Viereck, referring to differences 
between Burke and Maistre, argues that 'the former is evolu- 
tionary; the latter counter-revolutionary. Both favor traditions 
against the innovations of 1789, but their traditions differ. . .The 
latter... is often called not "conservative" but "reactionary".' 
Agreeing substantially with Huntington in this respect, Viereck 
adds that the reactionary 

sometimes seems just as radical against the existing present as the radical 
Jacobin or the Marxist, only in the opposite direction. The Burkean, in 
contrast, does come to terms with the reality of inevitable change. But 
he does so without the liberal's optimism and faith in progress. . .But 
that distinction (between conservative and reactionary) must not be 
over-simplified or over-applied . Many conservatives do not fully lend 
themselves to neat pigeon-holing in either category but overlap. . . 21 

Finally, Michels notes that his 'philosophical conservative' often 
'tends to desert his ideology if changes are brought about despite 
him, and to take on a new attitude favouring change (change in a 
backward direction, i.e. reaction) . . . \ 22 Even a cursory reading of 
Rogger and Weber's The European Right will indicate the con- 
siderable difficulties in defining the 'radical right' and in relating 
it to conservatism and reaction. 23 We may ask, for example, if a 
reactionary in Huntington's sense is not ipso facto radical as well, 
as Michels suggests? If so, how does a reactionary differ from 
a right radical? How does one decide when a conservative is 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

transformed into a reactionary or a right radical? These are not 
easily answered questions. 

Acknowledging these difficulties, we shall still employ these 
various terms in the study of Swatantra. The term rightist or 
right wing will be used broadly to cover all people, parties, and 
doctrines categorized more specifically as conservative, reactionary, 
and right radical. The term reactionary will refer to efforts to re- 
establish some system which actually or substantially existed at 
one time but which has been (largely) displaced. The term right 
radical will denote efforts which tend strongly to be authoritarian, 
chauvinistic, and militant, which seek to establish mass-mobiliza- 
tion regimes through the use of religio-cultural symbols, charisma, 
and the like, and which tend strongly toward fascism. The term 
conservative will refer to efforts to sustain some more or less stable, 
ordered system which in fact exists at a given historical moment 
(or which very recently existed), by contrast with both reactionary 
and right radical efforts which will be critical of such a system. 
Whatever the abstract merits or universal applicability of such a 
classification may be, it works tolerably in the Indian case. More 
important is the fact that we are, in any event, more interested in 
analysing certain major political developments in India than we 
are in quibbling over the words used to refer to them. 

conservatism: the Indian case 

The Indian case presents us with much that is familiar, but it 
presents some important, distinctive features as well. There is no 
difficulty, for example, in locating an indigenous aristocracy (the 
so-called native princes — maharajas, rajas, nawabs, etc. — and 
landed nobles— jagirdars, taluqdars, zamindars, etc.) whose response 
to challenges will satisfy the search for aristocratic conservatism. 
However, the absence of stable, indigenous, macro-political institu- 
tions and the absence of broad class identifications and cohesion 
have meant that there was no national focal point for aristocratic 
conservatism. The latter was at best regional; and often it formed 
around antagonistic individual rulers. The absence of a cohesive 
body of * lords temporal' is paralleled on the religious side, where 
we find no cohesive body of 'lords spiritual'— the latter meaning 
that Hinduism has no organized 'church'— to serve as a focal 
point for religious conservatism. All of this is part of the more 

Comments on Conservatism 

general problem of social fragmentation in India, to which count- 
less writers have referred. 24 

Moreover, in about half of India, princely polities were swept 
aside by the British, and different institutions and values and new 
social classes came to the fore, ultimately to lead to parliamentarism. 
In the rest of the country, princely polities were nominally re- 
tained, but became atrophied. Are the defenders of princely India 
and of British Indian institutions both conservative and on a par, 
or is the princely tradition more authentically Indian and its 
defenders more authentically conservative? Are the surviving 
aristocrats to be called conservative, if they defended their 
patrimonies which were at least nominally retained; or are they to 
be called reactionary, because the social order which they repre- 
sented had been largely displaced, de facto, if not de jure} In this 
study, aristocratic conservatism will be accorded higher 'status' 
than that relating to British India, and the defenders of the 
princely regimes will be called conservative, unless they argue for a 
more or less complete restoration of such regimes along pre- 
British lines. 

There is yet another complication. The historic weakness of 
India's macro-political institutions, the instability of the princely 
polities and the fate which befell them, and the pro-British stand 
ultimately taken by most leading aristocrats combined to lead 
many Indians to hold that the 'real' India had nothing whatever 
to do with the princely states. For them, the real India was to be 
found in the three pillars of the 'self-regulating' Indian society— 
the joint family, caste, and village — which enabled India to with- 
stand instability in the broader polity and which, rather than the 
much-vaunted Indian Civil Service, deserve to be called the ' steel 
frame ' of India. At this level, conservatism exists without monarchs 
and landed nobles, without the pomp and flourish of the courts of 
the ancien regimes. It was, in fact, usually unconcerned with and 
often opposed to conservatism at 'higher' levels. Furthermore, 
the caste system, often portrayed as totally inflexible, contained 
within itself a profoundly conservative mechanism of change (now 
generally termed ' sanskritization '), which helped to avoid frontal 
attacks on the system and hence diminished the need to articulate 
defences of it. 25 

The village order ultimately came to have its Burkes and 
Maistres, as disintegration set in, in the wake of British rule and as 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

a result of the entering wedge of industrialism. The defence of the 
old order (itself considerably idealized by many) often revealed a 
fusion of conservatism with local variants of Utopian socialist and 
Luddite postures. This renders hazardous a characterization of this 
response as conservatism plain and simple, but its ample con- 
servative component must be set forth in any study of Indian 

India's urban, and to a much lesser extent rural propertied 
middle classes looked in two directions; and this was particularly 
but not exclusively true of those in British India. Many landed 
peasants were at least happy to contemplate the demise of the 
aristocracy; but in terms of major social transformations, this is 
not in any sense decisive, as the village-based, agrarian order 
remains to be dealt with. 26 More important is the view of the urban 
industrial-professional classes, which was critical of both aristo- 
cratic conservatism and villagism. However, the rise of more radical 
movements helped to blunt this challenge, which was not, in any 
event, of massive strength to begin with. 

Finally, the British presence affected the outlook of diverse 
classes, as well as the pattern of inter-class relationships. Many of 
the forces of change were often traced to the British, and con- 
servative responses were often merged with more broadly anti- 
imperalist positions. Needless to say, many non-conservatives 
were associated with the latter. 27 Groups which favoured the types 
of changes brought about (consciously or unconsciously) by the 
British ran the risk of being labelled as anti-national, which also 
helped to blunt anti-traditional efforts. To put the matter differ- 
ently, we may ask: in what .ways was the dialogue 5 between east 
and west also a dialogue between conservatism and liberalism, 
and in what ways did conservatism (and class and doctrinal matters 
more generally) take on new dimensions, because of the colonial 
setting? The picture which emerges is quite complex, indeed, but 
one central feature is certainly this: as the nationalist movement 
progressed in the twentieth century, a wedge was driven between 
the aristocracy (increasingly alined with the British) and the 
urban industrial and professional elements (increasingly alined 
with the Congress), forestalling, if not precluding a fascist-type 
alliance between them in the face of more radical demands. The 
present state of the relationship between these two broad classes 
must be examined in any study of Indian conservatism. 

Comments on Conservatism 

In India, then, we shall find aristocratic conservatives; village- 
oriented groups which rejected both the aristocratic order and 
British institutions and values; village-oriented groups which 
accepted parliamentarism but which wanted the new political 
institutions to be used in defence of village India; and others who, 
in varying ways and degrees, were more fully committed to trans- 
form India socially, economically, and politically along western 
lines. For a long time these groups functioned in a colonial setting 
which further complicated already complex interrelationships. This 
study is intended to lay bare some basic perspectives and some of 
these complex interrelationships, many of which exist in micro- 
cosm in the background, genesis, and subsequent development of 
the Swatantra Party. Conservatism will receive the bulk of the 
attention; but the analysis of Swatantra will be set against the 
backdrop of rightist politics more generally. 





It has been part of the conventional wisdom about Indian politics 
that right-wing political activity has been extremely ineffectual. 
Certainly, few writers, apart from Marxists, have argued to the 
contrary. Thus, two leading students of Indian affairs have com- 
mented on reactionary activity in the following fashion: 'It is one 
of the paradoxes of Indian politics that India's ancien regime, surely 
one of the oldest and most deeply rooted in the world, produced 
no reaction. . . Only a few minor local parties today stand for a full 
return to the rule of Brahmins and kshatryas according to the pre- 
cepts of dharma or traditional duty, and they are ineffectual.' 1 In a 
more general vein, another scholar has argued: 'Nehru once ob- 
served. . ."Who says that opposition forces are weak in India? 
The opposition we have to fight is obscurantism and inertia of the 
people." The Prime Minister had in mind mass lethargy and 
ignorance: but the record of bbth the religious and secular 
Rightist parties is a sad commentary on this maxim.' 2 The last 
remark misses Nehru's basic point that the resistance of those 
attached to the ancien regime is passive, not active; but the judg- 
ment about the weakness of rightist parties is none the less evident 
here. 3 The situation was such that one writer could announce, after 
the first two general elections in India (i95 1-2 and i 957)j ' tne 
almost complete eclipse of our so-called rightist parties'. 4 No one 
denied that there existed privileged classes with a vested interest 
in maintaining the ancien regime, but they seemed quiescent ; and the 
passivity and inarticulateness of these groups were paralleled, 
ostensibly, in the case of the modern elites in land and industry. 
The weakness of conservatism more specifically was noted before 
independence by a maharaja who commented that 'it must seem 
strange in a country whose ways of life are so dominated by cus- 
tom and tradition as India, there should be no political party 
which calls itself conservative '. Events seem to have falsified this 
same man's prediction that with growing emancipation from 


Indian Right Wing: Social and Doctrinal 

British tutelage 'a strong party of experienced and responsible 
politicians will emerge, which will call itself the Conservative 
Party . . . '. 5 The £ almost complete eclipse ' of rightist parties, con- 
servative or otherwise, seemed to be an obvious, yet puzzling 
feature of Indian political life. 

Were these judgments sound? If so, why? If not, why were so 
many capable observers misled? What were the problems and 
prospects of a strong, explicitly rightist — and more specifically, 
conservative — force in India? These in brief are the important but 
unanswered questions which account for the focus selected for this 
study and for which some answers will be sought through an 
examination of India's Swatantra Party. 

social bases: challenge and response 

On 15 August 1947 India gained her independence from British 
rule. There was no doubt that the mantle of power would fall to 
the Indian National Congress, but at the time this alone must have 
seemed clear. Fundamental problems which had plagued India 
through her long centuries would have to be confronted anew, and 
there was no assurance that the Congress or any other political 
force in the country would be adequate to the challenge. Could a 
united country be created out of the diverse religions, linguistic 
and caste groups, and out of the former British provinces and the 
congeries of princely states? Could the weight of centuries of tradi- 
tion be overcome sufficiently to allow India to develop the dynam- 
ism required for desperately needed progress on many fronts? 
These were but two of the critical questions for which no confident 
answers could be provided. 

From the standpoint of India's conservative elements, as for all 
others, the future was clouded. Over the years of British rule, 
traditional India had confronted numerous challenges. Many 
princely polities had been annexed, and those remaining had 
atrophied considerably. Conscious efforts at social, legal, educa- 
tional, and other reforms, as well as changes flowing from the 
advent of rail-roads, modern communications, new forms of 
industry, and the like, seemed to many to strike at the roots of 
Indian society. Over wide areas, erosion, if not sudden destruction, 
seemed to threaten indigenous institutions and values, and at 
least from the time of Ram Mohun Roy in the early nineteenth 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

century, there were always articulate Indians who also advocated 
changes, some modest, some drastic, in traditional India. It re- 
mained to be seen what the 'new India' held in store. 

Uppermost in the minds of many conservative Indians in 1947 
was the knowledge that Jawaharlal Nehru would probably 
dominate the political scene, and this generated considerable 
anxiety. From the late 1920s onward, Nehru had explicitly identi- 
fied himself with the more radical elements in the country and had 
inveighed against the princely order, the landed aristocracy, the 
capitalist class, the defenders of socio-religious orthodoxy, the 
general stagnation of rural India, and the like. 6 Shortly before 
independence, Gandhi warned the princes that 'Pandit Jawaharlal 
Nehru will have no patience with you', 7 but the princes were by 
no means alone in their need to be apprehensive. A government 
acting responsively to Nehru could have provided a formidable 
threat to a number of important privileged social groups. 

Nehru did, of course, tower over the Indian political scene 
after independence, until his death in 1964, and in varying degrees 
each of the groups against whom he had inveighed did confront 
challenges during his tenure as Prime Minister. The princes had 
their states 'integrated' into the Indian Union, and thus they lost 
their residual political power, their status suffered, and their 
economic position deteriorated badly, where it did not completely 
collapse. The same was true of the great landed aristocrats, both in 
the former princely states and in former British India, who were 
eliminated as 'intermediaries' between the peasant and the state. 
The middle peasantry came ultimately to confront pressure for 
heavier taxation, ceilings on land holdings, a vague threat of 
collectivized agriculture, and a variety of efforts designed to im- 
prove the general position of the lowest strata of the rural popula- 
tion, in whose continued exploitation the higher caste Hindus had 
a deep and abiding vested interest. The business communities were 
confronted by a wide range of restrictive legislation, including 
prohibitions on entry into certain fields which were reserved for 
state-sponsored enterprises; limitations on expansion in other 
areas; quotas and excises, particularly in the textile field, intended 
to make hand-woven cloth more competitive; attacks on the 
'managing agency' system which had structured Indian enterprise 
since the nineteenth century; heavy corporate and personal taxa- 
tion; and occasional intimations of nationalization or at least rather 


Indian Right Wing: Social and Doctrinal 

drastic circumscription of the private sector. Legislation intended 
to reform Hindu family relations, inheritance, and other aspects of 
traditional private law challenged the orthodox of whatever status 
or occupation. 8 

Each of these moves produced adverse responses, but for the 
most part these responses were isolated efforts which did not 
develop into a cohesive force. Some princes refused, at the outset, 
to accede to the Government of India and made what amounted to 
declarations of independence; one or two resorted to military re- 
sistance; and in 1 95 1 some former rulers and landed aristocrats 
attempted to form a 'Rulers' Union', to agitate against the integra- 
tion of the native states and the decline of the aristocracy more 
generally. The landed aristocracy, often in consort with former 
princes, took their fight against land reforms to the courts, where 
in some cases they were temporarily successful; and in some 
isolated instances they resorted to banditry as a form of protest 
against the effects of government policy. Non-aristocratic landed 
groups worked through many channels, including caste associa- 
tions and such groups as the All-India Agriculturalists' Federation 
(1958); while at the village level the attempted rise of depressed 
groups was countered in a variety of ways, including attrition in 
prolonged court battles, boycotts of village councils on which they 
sat and schools which they attended, refusal to respect elections 
which they might have won and taxes which their representatives 
might have been instrumental in levying, and a whole spectrum of 
more or less coercive measures, including the burning of homes 
and crops, the destruction of cattle, physical assault, and so on. On 
the national level, the late President of the Republic, Rajendra 
Prasad, steadfastly opposed certain provisions of the social reform 
legislation and threatened to withhold his assent, or to resign 
from office, unless modifications were forthcoming. The business 
communities, having tried to anticipate and to undercut Congress 
planning efforts by advancing a development plan of their own in 
1944, betrayed a crisis of confidence in the regime immediately after 
independence, and periodically thereafter they displayed anxiety 
over Congress policies, especially whenever there seemed to be a 
move toward 'Soviet' style planning. The frequent complaints of 
various individuals and business groups, and the creation of a 
small but vocal organization called the Forum of Free Enterprise 
(1956) testify to business opposition to diverse government 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

measures. These will suggest the range of responses to Congress 
policies during the years 1947-59. 9 Efforts along party lines will be 
discussed below. 

Many of these challenges were, thus, acutely felt and many of 
the responses thereto were certainly conservative; yet there was no 
coherent, explicitly conservative response at the party level during 
the first decade after independence. There are many reasons for 
this, but the brief catalogue of challenge and response during the 
Nehru era suggests one important factor: the diversity of the 
social forces involved. In addition to major inter-group cleavages, 
however, there were also intra-group cleavages, based in large part 
on the historic social fragmentation of Hindu society; and these 
also worked against the formation of a cohesive opposition force. 

A brief glance at the historical record will show that even within 
a given group, viz. the aristocracy, landed peasantry, business 
communities, etc., unity was at best a remote possibility. With 
respect to the princely order, for example, it is clear that at almost 
every critical juncture in its history, it was beset by internal cleav- 
ages which seriously impaired its collective position. The story is 
told that sometime before the rebellion of 1857 a leading Indian 
ruler looked at a standard British map of the sub-continent, with 
* British India' coloured red, princely India yellow, and com- 
mented, * one day it will all be red \ 10 Yet this sentiment was either 
not widely shared or else it did not matter, because at no time did 
the native rulers act on the maxim that it would be better to hang 
together than to hang separately. The disunity of the princes in 
1857 — notwithstanding certain ultra-nationalist fantasies about 
projected 'United States of India 5 and kindred visions — is 
obvious. While some rulers were engaged in a life-and-death 
struggle (to be counted among the major manifestations of con- 
servatism in India) with the British raj, other rulers stood apart or 
actively assisted in the suppression of the revolt. Subsequently, in 
the constitutional deliberations of the 1920s and 1930s, the princes 
once again found it impossible to present anything resembling a 
united front. Pre-eminent rulers held aloof from the Chamber of 
Princes and looked upon its activities with scorn; lesser princes 
who were excluded from the Chamber resented their demotion and 
demanded equality, which the more prestigious rulers were un- 
willing to concede. Even as 'doomsday' approached, disunity was 
prevalent. 11 


Indian Right Wing: Social and Doctrinal 

Prior to independence, the great landed nobles of British India 
were virtually compelled to be better united, because they had to 
function within a somewhat more c open 5 and more reformist 
environment. Over the years, the zamindars had organized them- 
selves, at least locally, to petition the raj and eventually to elect 
representatives to the legislative councils, in which they had 
reserved seats. They amply demonstrated their conservatism by 
proclaiming and defending their elite status and by steadfastly 
opposing almost every significant piece of land reform legislation 
introduced by the British to ameliorate the conditions of the actual 
tillers of the soil. Throughout the years of the British raj, however, 
differences between big and small zamindars were evident; each 
group, as in the case of the princes, was beset by religious and caste 
animosities; and, for example, the first 'All-India Landholders' 
Conference', dominated by the great zamindars, was not con- 
vened until 1938, which was rather late in the game from the stand- 
point of the self-interest of the landed aristocracy. Furthermore, 
the political division of India into British and princely areas in- 
hibited the development of associations which would bring to- 
gether the zamindars and their closest counterparts in the princely 
states, the jagirdars. 12 

The state of Rajasthan provides a good case study of the multiple 
cleavages which beset the aristocratic classes even on a regional 
level, in the post-independence era. The great Rajput princes were 
not particularly solicitous of or fully trusted by, the lesser ones. 
The non-Rajput rulers, like the Jat family of Bharatpur, were 
often treated with scorn by the Rajputs, great and small alike. The 
Rajput jagirdars themselves, reasonably well united for a short 
time in the early years after independence, came ultimately to be 
split along economic lines, between big and little jagirdars. An 
interesting footnote to this is provided by the manifestly pre- 
posterous assertion of some jagirdars that they would have treated 
the people better, had it not been for the presence of the princes 
who ruled the area. 13 

Thus, while sharing many interests and aspirations vis-a-vis 
more democratic tendencies, the aristocratic classes never formed a 
cohesive opposition force, either on the national or the state level, 
either under the British or after 1947. Both the aristocrats and the 
defenders of religious orthodoxy might be eminently conservative 
but their activities were inevitably fragmented. 14 To appreciate the 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

significance of this one need only ask how different India's political 
development might well have been had, say, the Rajputs been the 
dominant aristocratic group throughout India, or had the Chit- 
pavan Brahmins been similarly dispersed as a religious elite group. 
Indian conservatism, if not India as a would-be modern, con- 
stitutional, democratic polity, has certainly suffered because this 
was not the case. 

Many intra-group conflicts are evident as well among the landed 
peasant groups and the business communities. In some areas the 
Rajput-Jat split is evident at this level, as well as within the 
aristocracy, the Kshatrya-Patidar conflict in much of Gujarat is 
well known, and the Kamma-Reddy conflict in Andhra has been 
well documented. 15 Historically organized along family and com- 
munity (i.e. Parsi, Marwari, Chettiar, Bohra, etc.) lines, Indian 
business has only partially progressed toward the creation of a 
broad, more or less national business class. The Parsis, who were 
Zoroastrians by religion and many of whom were highly Anglicized, 
were, for example, poles apart from the Hindu and Jain Marwari 
community, itself quite orthodox religiously; and while this might 
be the most extreme case, it is not the only one. Certain business 
organizations and individual firms were intercommunity ones, but 
others, like the Marwari Chamber of Commerce in Calcutta, were 
largely or even exclusively confined to one community. Certain 
'peak' organizations such as the Federation of Indian Chambers of 
Commerce and Industry (FICCI) have helped to bring these to- 
gether, as, significantly, have certain challenges to the position of 
business in general, viz. the threat of Congress planning which led 
to the formulation of the * Bombay Plan' and the attack at a later 
date on the managing agency system of business organization. All of 
this notwithstanding, it will be quite a long time before compar- 
ably placed businessmen from different communities can be 
spoken of as one reasonably cohesive business class, even for 
relatively limited purposes and even after due allowance is made 
for different sectors of industry and for large- versus small-scale 
enterprises. This is a specific aspect of Weber's more general view 
that social cleavages in India virtually precluded the emergence oj 
an urban 'brotherhood' comparable to those which arose in many 
western cities during the medieval period and which, in his view, 
in part accounted for the success of the urban challenge to feuda- 
lism in the west. 16 


Indian Right Wing: Social and Doctrinal 

This analysis could easily be elaborated, but to no important 
present purpose. It is sufficient to note that even within a given 
social stratum, even on a regional level, unity in responding to 
challenges did not exist and the likelihood of achieving it was 

Compounding this difficulty was the diversity of interest among 
major groups, including the important split between the aristo- 
cratic and middle-class interests. Co-operative effort by such groups 
would have been difficult to achieve, certainly in the absence of a 
formidable threat from the left and quite probably even in the face 
of one. This dimension of the problem is most profitably investi- 
gated from the standpoint of the social bases and policies of the 
nationalist movement, which, as everyone knows, was socially 
heterogeneous. What was the nature of the Congress coalition? 
How was it held together? What directions did its policies take? In 
suggesting answers to these questions, it will be possible not only 
to define better certain inter-group conflicts but also to suggest 
certain implications for the development of a cohesive, conserva- 
tive opposition party in India. 

The Congress, at least after the advent of Gandhi, had its 
centre of gravity among the middle peasant groups, with ample 
support from India's frustrated industrialists and much leadership 
from the urban intelligentsia. It is clear that there were many 
differences in the goals of these diverse components of the Con- 
gress coalition, yet they were held together. The latter fact is 
partly explained, of course, by common opposition to alien rule, 
which served as the broadest possible rallying point not only for 
these groups but for others as well. But it would be a mistake to 
underestimate the role of leadership and of ideology here. It was 
one of Gandhi's critical contributions that he emphasized the 
notion of ' trusteeship ' and class harmony, tapping, in this respect 
and others, certain very traditional currents of thought in India, 
while providing no direct threat whatever to industrial interests. 17 
Without Gandhi or someone like him, and without Gandhism or 
something akin to it, it would have been much more difficult to 
keep these disparate elements together, even with the anti- 
imperialist rallying point. Apprehension over the rise of socialist 
elements also played a part, which dovetailed neatly with Gandhi's 
contribution, as will be discussed subsequently. 

Limited though the aspirations of the middle classes in the 

2 17 ESP 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

Congress were, particularly with respect to the most depressed 
elements in Indian society, they proved sufficient to alienate the 
upper strata in many areas. Broadly speaking, the conflict between 
the middle class and the aristocracy was the most pronounced. The 
latter not only remained aloof from the nationalist movement but 
often actively opposed it; and particularly from the 1930s onward 
the aristocrats viewed the Congress with increasing hostility and 
alarm, turning more to the British to defend their interests. It is 
clear that the British played a key role in Indian political develop- 
ment here, in the sense that the anti-colonial struggle drove a 
wedge between the indigenous aristocracy and the industrial- 
commercial classes, precluding the emergence, at least in the short 
run, of a fascist-style alliance between them. It is significant, too, 
that while there was a growing concern over the rise of socialist 
elements, the threat from the left was not so acutely felt that the gap 
between these classes was bridged. Suggestive of the problem 
here — and it has proved to be an enduring one — is the fact that 
the aristocracy was inclined to look upon the Congress as a whole 
with a good deal of anxiety, while large groups of non-aristocratic 
conservative Congressmen were themselves becoming increasingly 
worried about the upsurge of socialism, both inside the party and 
out. 18 

Congress alienation of the aristocracy— as in what is now 
Rajasthan, where the States' Peoples' Conference drew upon a 
wide array of non-aristocratic groups — v/as the most visible social 
split, but others deserve attention. In the same state of Rajasthan, 
after independence, the lower caste Jats moved increasingly into 
positions of strength in the Congress (which built upon the States' 
Peoples' Conference), and this led to the decline and disaffection of 
some formerly prominent Brahmin leaders and other higher status 
groups. To cite a different but also important case, the Madras 
Congress was originally dominated by Brahmins, but in the face 
of strong anti-Brahmin movements in that state, the social basis of 
the party was broadened and newer sources of strength and leader- 
ship emerged. At present, Brahmins are conspicuous by their 
absence from high positions in the Madras Congress, and even 
some of the middle-caste, anti-Brahmin groups have been alienated 
as a result of an even further broadening of the social base of the 
party. In these and other cases, however, the ascendant elements 
were middle and lower middle caste groups for the most part, and 


Indian Right Wing: Social and Doctrinal 

their solicitude for those who remain below them is certainly 
suspect. 19 The hard core of the gradually democratizing Congress 
coalition was, in sum, non-aristocratic, middle class and moderately 
reformist, generally not desiring complete liquidation of superior 
classes and generally not desiring radical efforts to enhance the 
position of the lowest classes, particularly the untouchables. Thus, 
Rajagopalachari ('Rajaji', founder-leader of Swatantra), as 
premier of Madras from 1937 to 1939, used available legislation to 
control anti-princely state activity within the province ; he sponsored 
land reform legislation which was designed to give greater security 
of tenure and somewhat greater income to tenants, but which left 
the existing landlords firmly in control; he insisted on substituting 
a permissive bill, based on the principle of 'local option', to permit 
temple entry by untouchables, in place of a bill which would have 
made it mandatory. 20 During his second term as political head of 
Madras, in the early 1950s, Rajaji, under the threat of communist 
gains in the state, carried forward some of this land legislation, in 
particular; but otherwise he remained generally moderate in his 
policies. Rajaji's non-Brahmin challengers and successors were 
more reform-minded than he, but even they fell short of radical 
programmes. Numerous other examples could be cited, but these 
will suffice in the present connection. 

The relative moderation of the broad Congress coalition, even 
under Nehru's leadership, is evident from the fact that for one 
reason or another none of the elements whom he had belaboured 
were driven completely to the wall. The princes and landlords 
suffered serious setbacks, to be sure, but there were, in each case, 
some not inconsiderable consolations. On the probably sound 
assumption that 'the capacity for mischief and trouble on the part 
of the rulers if the settlement had not been reached on a negotiated 
basis was far greater than could be imagined at this stage', Sardar 
Patel insisted that in approaching the native rulers 'a spirit of 
give and take' prevail. He further 'expressed the hope that the 
Indian States would bear in mind that the alternative to co-opera- 
tion in the general interest was anarchy and chaos which would 
overwhelm great and small in common ruin...'. 21 As a con- 
sequence, the princes received a wide array of quid pro quos in 
return for their accession to the Indian Union. Foremost among 
these was the annual, tax-free, 'privy purse', but in addition the 
princes were granted the right to retain all personal property and 

19 2-2 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

wealth, Succession according to law and custom \ exemption 
from customs and certain other duties, continued 'gun salutes' on 
certain occasions, privileged positions at certain state functions, 
special licence plates, permission to fly their old flags, among other 
perquisites, all of which were constitutionally guaranteed and non- 
justiciable. Furthermore, some of the pre-eminent rulers were 
named as Rajpramukhs, ambassadors, special advisers on govern- 
ment commissions, and the like, thus easing the impact of inte- 
gration somewhat further in some important cases. 22 Patel justified 
these arrangements in the following terms : 

The minimum which we could offer to them as a quid pro quo for parting 
with their ruling powers was to guarantee to them privy purses and 
certain privileges on a reasonable and defined basis. . .Need we cavil at 
the small— I purposely use the word small— price we have paid for the 
bloodless revolution which has affected the destinies of millions of our 
people. 23 

Given the fact that many princes were phenomenally wealthy 'in 
the modern as well as in the feudal sense 5 , 24 through investment in 
industry, integration was not the catastrophe it might have been, 
even though in almost every case a cut-back in the level of living 
was necessary. 25 And it is by no means insignificant for this study 
that Patel has been charged with expediting the integration of the 
states on this basis, in order to forestall more radical solutions to 
the problem. 26 

In the case of the landed aristocrats, comparable considerations 
apply. Prior to the introduction of abolition legislation it was 
observed that the intermediaries, 'for fear of the impending 
abolition. . .are directing their attention increasingly to non- 
agricultural secondaries \ 27 In almost every case, abolition legisla- 
tion provided for compensation, and even Nehru argued that 
simple expropriation, 'though equitably perhaps justifiable, may 
lead to many cases of hardship' and, by implication, social dis- 
content, and was to be avoided for this reason. 28 In some cases, 
rehabilitation grants were also provided and many acts permitted 
landlords to evict tenants in order to acquire land for personal 
cultivation. 29 Particularly in the case of the wealthier zamindars and 
jagirdars who had industrial investments, abolition legislation did 
not mean disaster, although as in the case of the princes cut-backs 
were well-nigh inevitable. It is an exaggeration to say that in 


Indian Right Wing: Social and Doctrinal 

Rajasthan, for example, the legislation 'might as well have been 
drafted by the Jagirdars' Association', 30 but one can scarcely 
consider the broad approach to have been a particularly radical 
one either. 

The position of the peasantry remained quite secure throughout 
this period. Taxation was generally less heavy and tenure more 
secure under the Congress than under the British and the landed 
intermediaries. Moreover, many government programmes — 
organization of co-operatives, extension of rural credit, improved 
transport, electrification, irrigation, and the like — were advanta- 
geous to these rural classes, although many fell far short of govern- 
ment expectations at least. Land ceiling legislation applied to very 
few, and those who were likely to be affected had ample time to 
divest themselves of ' surplus ' lands to relatives and friends, thus 
escaping inclusion under the laws in many cases. In some instances 
the ceilings were made applicable only to future holdings, allow- 
ing the existing rural elite to escape completely. The famed 
'Nagpur Resolution' (1959) on 'joint co-operative farming' was 
considered to mean 'collectivization' by very few, and Nehru 
insisted that no coercion would ever be used to bring it about. 
Thus, government economic policies did not provide a clear and 
present danger to the landed peasantry; and the diverse measures 
intended to improve the position of the untouchables and to 
democratize the village generally were heavily 'filtered' by 
dominant, upper castes, leaving in many instances only a relatively 
inoffensive residue. In some cases, projected reforms simply 
remained totally unimplemented. 31 

Business communities were also quite secure, even though there 
were loud complaints about the pattern of taxation and the range 
of government controls. Nationalization remained very much a 
'red herring', as the Federation of British Industries noted in a 
report on investment opportunities in India; and many state- 
sponsored industries meshed well with private industry, assuring 
the latter of many necessary materials, power, and the like, at no 
private risk. In the area of economic infra-structure the govern- 
ment aided private enterprise considerably. Furthermore, even 
where theoretically excluded from certain sectors, private indus- 
trialists often found the government quite flexible; and where the 
government proved to be rigid, many industrialists successfully 
resorted to diversification, as they responded to standard capitalist 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

impulses. Moreover, under the government system of licensing 
and issuing permits, some industrialists were established in privi- 
leged positions, although others might have been disaffected as a 
result. All in all, this was obviously not the best of all imaginable 
worlds from the standpoint of private enterprise, but it was not 
inordinately oppressive. 32 

The willingness of the Congress to be conciliatory in order to 
stabilize a shaky government testifies further to its generally 
moderate approach. In Rajasthan after 1952 and in Orissa after 
1957s aristocratic elements were brought into the ministry, in the 
former case by outright absorption of opposition members into 
the Congress, in the latter through a coalition with a princely led 
party. Comparable accommodating tendencies have been widely 
evident in the realm of policy as well. 

The failure of the Congress to mount a potent, radical challenge 
thus helps to account for the absence of a potent, coherent opposi- 
tion to the ruling party, even though, as noted, there is no 
assurance that in the face of such a challenge the situation would 
be substantially different. However, Congress restraint by itself is 
insufficient to account for the condition of the opposition: the 
hegemony of the Congress also plays a major role. 33 

Briefly put, not only was the Congress relatively moderate in its 
policies, but where it did seriously offend certain segments of the 
population — and it surely did so — there was little prospect that 
anti-Congress activity would be worth the effort. Had there been a 
long-established opposition party to which the disaffected could 
repair, the situation would doubtless have been different. But 
under the prevailing circumstances, opposition was difficult and 
might only elicit more drastic treatment from the ruling party. 
Congress restraint and Congress hegemony are, however, linked : 
had Congress been radical to the point of complete dispossession of 
the aristocracy, for example, its hegemony might not have been much 
of a deterrent to desperate men. As it was, it was the fact that many 
adversely affected groups had still more that they could lose which 
accounts for much of the significance of Congress hegemony. 

The princes, for example, were dependent on the Congress for 
the continuation of the annual privy purse, which, although con- 
stitutionally guaranteed, could be reduced or eliminated because 
of the ease with which the constitution is amended (given Con- 
gress' overwhelming legislative majority). An early effort (195 1) 


Indian Right Wing: Social and Doctrinal 

by the Maharajas of Jodhpur and Baroda, in consort with some 
landed aristocrats, to form a 'Rulers' Union' and 'to work up an 
agitation amongst the rulers as well as the jagirdars and zamindars 
against the merger of the States ' had little chance to gain momen- 
tum, because for this and other reasons the government deprived 
the Maharaja of Baroda of his title and his purse. 34 Periodically, as 
princes display an inclination to enter more widely into anti- 
Congress politics, they are reminded by representatives of the 
ruling party that the privy purse is not sacrosanct. 35 The fact that 
so few princes have chosen to right the Congress is thus ' a posthu- 
mous tribute to Sardar Patel's shrewdness in... making them 
economically dependent on their foes . . . ', and one prince put it 
quite succinctly : ' The rulers are letting themselves be hanged by 
these financial strings. . .We ought to stand on our dignity like 
men and tell the Congress "take away your bribes. Let us fight 
you at the polling booths like Indians." ' 36 Exactly the same con- 
siderations apply to the jagirdars and zamindars who receive pay- 
ments in instalments and mostly in long-term bonds, thus tying 
them to the regime as well. 37 

In so far as other groups were disaffected, their situation was not 
in principle different, although perhaps the Congress could not 
have moved quite so easily against them as it could against the 
aristocrats. Businessmen would have to deal with the Congress raj, 
and risky ventures into political opposition could lead to reprisals : 
threats of nationalization, loss of permits and licences already 
granted, denial of those applied for, and so on, were among the 
available weapons with which the Congress could not only induce 
the captains of industry to remain docile but also to help fill the 
Congress coffers, as they had done in the past. In short, as the 
party in power, with little indication that in the short run it would 
lose power, the Congress could convince potential opposition forces 
of the futility, if not the danger, of taking up the cudgels against it. 
It should occasion little surprise that many disgruntled elements 
chose to sit quietly on the sidelines or else to bore from within the 
Congress itself, rather than to go into the political wilderness. 
Couple this with the social obstacles to the mobilization of these 
elements, and the creation of a cohesive opposition was rendered 
even more difficult. 38 Add to all of this such critical, if somewhat 
more pedestrian problems as finance, and you have some very 
formidable barriers to the creation of such an opposition. Finally, 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

given the hegemony of the Congress and Nehru's personal commit- 
ment to socialist doctrine, it is easy to understand why explicitly 
conservative positions had not been advanced, even by those who 
had the inclination to do so. Much conservative sentiment, both 
inside and outside of the Congress, remained unarticulated, 
introducing an important element of latency into Indian politics 
as regards the conservative interests in the country. 

It should also be clear that in any reasonably open political 
context the hegemony of one party cannot be expected to last 
forever, and it is important, therefore, to recognize suppressed or 
latent elements which may become more influential as the domina- 
tion by one party (or one individual) recedes. In the Indian case, 
after the first two general elections it should have been abundantly 
clear that there were such latent or suppressed elements, and that 
at least some of these were in a position to influence politics in a 
conservative direction. To indicate what the precise direction(s) 
might be, some estimate, however sketchy, of the doctrinal 
commitments of these groups must be set forth. 


There can be little doubt that India's native aristocracy was in 
large measure a self-consciously proud, if not arrogant group, 
which explicitly referred to and defended its extraordinarily 
privileged position in Indian society. The princes' self-esteem is 
abundantly evident from the assertion that the Chamber of Princes 
(1921) 'was instituted. . .as the result of the desire of the rulers of 
the Indian States. . .to come together and to deliberate on matters 
relating to the Empire, and the States as a whole'. 39 Similarly, a 
spokesman for the zamindars argued that 'the landlord class, to 
which I have the honour to belong, have the largest and most 
important interests at stake in British India, and they should be 
adequately preserved and safeguarded'. 40 Throughout the con- 
stitutional deliberations of the 1920s and I93 0S 3 thev insisted that 
' we cannot allow the rights and privileges of our class to be ignored 
or encroached upon'; that they must always be given constitutional 
protection 'commensurate with our interests'; and that they must 
'preserve the inherited rights of their class, and secure legitimate 
guarantees in the new scheme of things . . . '. 41 

In confronting the British, the aristocrats quite understandably 


Indian Right Wing: Social and Doctrinal 

emphasized their 'ungrudging support and sincere assistance' and 
reminded the raj of their record of 'unalloyed loyalty to the 
Crown'. 42 The landlords frankly conceded that 'if we are to exist 
as a class ', then ' it is our duty to strengthen the hands of the 
[British] Government'. 43 Many a British official frankly admitted 
the Crown's debts to the aristocracy and regarded the final disposi- 
tion of the native states in particular as illegal, immoral and a 
despicable sell-out. 44 

While this style of argument commended itself widely to the 
British, it was not designed to appeal to the articulate, non-aristo- 
cratic elements in Indian public life, notably those who comprised 
the Congress. For the latter, a host of additional arguments was 
set forth, many of which suggested an awareness of the need to 
swim with the tide to some extent. One defender of the native 
rulers thus insisted that 'the natural instinct of mankind' is self- 
preservation, 'and no one should grudge it to the great Princely 
order'; and another insisted that 'we wish to preserve the indi- 
vidual and historical identity of our States which our forefathers 
carved out for themselves and handed down to us'. 45 But even 
this was too baldly put to stand alone, and other buttressing argu- 
ments were advanced. One ruler stressed ' the traditions of king- 
ship and ... the instincts and responsibilities of hereditary rule 
ingrained in our being', while others referred to the princes as 
'custodians of ancient dynastic traditions' which 'they have the 
greatest duty of preserving . . . \ 46 The zamindars, although 
formally deprived of their autonomy, echoed the same sentiments 
by emphasizing that theirs was a class which could ' claim lineage 
from ancient houses, who have held lands for ages past ... in 
recognition of military services ... or for some other potent 
reason'. 47 

Such self-interested and fully conservative arguments could 
hardly suffice by themselves and the rulers were by no means 
oblivious of this fact. In addition to a variant of 'divine right' and 
' tradition ' from the aristocrats' own standpoint, there were other 
reasons for their preservation: the people, it was asserted, 'look 
upon their Rulers as a precious legacy of India's glorious past' and 
it became ' an essential element of patriotism that nothing should 
be done to damage the Indian States, though attack on individual 
rulers may sometimes be justified'. 48 While admitting that they 
were conservative 'to a certain extent by tradition and instinct', 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

the aristocrats were insistent that they were 'conservators. . .of a 
great tradition, of an ancient civilization and of a proud culture ' 
which was superior to the 'dynamic, machine-made civilization 
of the West' which was to some extent being imported into India 
by the British and westernized Indians. 49 The emphasis on the 
role of the princely states in the indigenous tradition and on 
Indian culture as superior to that of the west held out some hope 
for a more favourable response from the more conservative, non- 
aristocratic Congressmen, many of whom were sympathetic to the 
latter argument, at least. 

Also indicative of their determination to exploit prevailing 
problems and sentiments, the aristocrats claimed that they were 
above the communalism of the newer class of politicians, 50 that 
they treated the people in their states as 'children' rather than as 
'subjects', that by contrast with the complex, bureaucratic cold- 
ness of British India, 'there is much to relieve the monotony of 
life ' for states ' peoples, that there was widely ' a real feudal identity 
between chief and people', and that 'the demand for self-govern- 
ment [of the princely states] has had no greater argument for its 
support than the general success of the rule of the princes and the 
happiness of the people living under their care'. 51 The rulers of the 
smaller states took special pains to point out that in their domains 
all official business, and the dispensing of justice in particular, 
got done 'without endless formalities and dilatory proceedings' 
because, unlike the British raj and the great native rulers, the 
smaller prince 'is accessible to all and ready to redress grievances 
and to bestow the blessings of personal rule'; 'The special charac- 
teristic of the small State is the personal and direct relation of the 
Ruler with his people, and no one acquainted with them will deny 
the esteem in which a ruler is held by his people and the veneration 
that the people have for his decision and judgments.' 52 Here we 
find an effort to relate princely rule to popular well-being and 
we find a critique of western political institutions. The latter, at 
least, did not fall on entirely deaf ears among non-aristocratic 

Given such feelings, it is little wonder that most articulate 
aristocrats balked at any strong suggestion of the advent of 
parliamentary, democratic government on an all-India basis, 
especially under the auspices of the Congress. As one British sup- 
porter of the princes put it, ' democracy, as known in British India, 


Indian Right Wing: Social and Doctrinal 

they do not find alluring' in part because it represented rule by 
the lower classes, ' an inversion of the traditions of three thousand 
years'. 53 Another referred to the Congress as 'subversive elements 
and bile producers' 54 which justified the conclusion that 'in such 
conditions, one can hardly expect the Indian Princes to sit in their 
Durbars with folded hands, while the lawyers, school-masters, 
money-lenders and industrialists decide the fate of India '. 55 

The aristocrats themselves were no less vitriolic than the British 
who stood by them. One leading zamindar referred to the Congress 
as a c new class ' of ' demi-gods and career politicians ' who exploit 
the ignorant masses ' for strengthening their own class rule ' ; and 
he insisted that the Congress 'is an upstart body and has not built 
up the traditions of authority and command through time with a 
corresponding attitude of obedience among the masses'. 56 Many 
reiterated their 'prolonged hostility to Congress ideas', scorned 
'the talk of democracies and all such things ', rejected the prospects 
of a Congress regime as one 'run by tradesmen who were not 
born to rule'. 57 The intensity of feeling which possessed some is 
nowhere better seen than in the assertion that 'when a eunuch is 
able to serve a woman, then this government will be able to rule 
with authority, and not before'. 58 

In light of such sentiments, it is also not surprising that many 
rulers, before the integration of the states, were quite outspoken in 
their insistence that 'we and our people will never submit to being 
governed by British India, over many parts of which our States 
in former times held sway', and most emphatic was the statement 
that ' we fought and sacrificed our blood to win power and we mean 
to hold it. If Congress wants to rob us, if the British should let us 
down, we will fight'. 59 In the event, these brave words were not 
matched by brave deeds, but two points remain clear. First, these 
words represent the authentic voice of aristocratic conservatism, 
defending the rule of kshatryas according to tradition and the pre- 
cepts of dharma, although efforts were made to go beyond such 
defences, in order to appeal to non-aristocratic conservatives. It is 
abundantly clear, however, that the aristocracy did not look with 
favour upon the middle classes (whether westernized or not), let 
alone the 'masses'. Secondly, and related to this, is the fact that 
there is much smoldering resentment against the Congress regime, 
which the ruling party has by no means been able to obliterate. 
The aristocrat who said, in 1963, 'I do not believe in democracy, 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

but in autocracy — benevolent, of course ', can for the moment stand 
as a reminder that the old princely order still has its defenders. 60 
Not all of the aristocrats were vehement about the Congress, at 
least in public. Before independence, many were disposed to assure 
the nationalist leadership that they were not reactionaries who 
wanted to effect a total princely restoration or steadfast conserva- 
tives who refused to alter their own polities or to associate with the 
leadership of British India. These insisted only that they were 
Burkean conservatives who acknowledged the need for change but 
felt that it must be gradual. 61 This difference in emphasis was in 
fact underscored by the British, who recognized a representative 
of the 'conservative' princes, as opposed to the Burkeans, at the 
Round Table Conferences. In more recent years, the Maharaja 
of Bikaner, one of the politically active ex-rulers, has claimed to be 
a socialist and has insisted that no successful political party ' can be 
established if it is based entirely on the leadership of former 
rulers. . . '. 62 To this writer's knowledge, only the late, somewhat 
aberrant, Maharaja of Bastar has openly suggested, in recent years, 
the restoration of the Chamber of Princes or a comparable forum 
for former rulers. 63 Most, in the realm of external behaviour at 
least, have made their peace with the new order, if only as a 
matter of necessity and if only temporarily. 

Still, resentment is quite widespread and has affected far more 
people than the aristocrats themselves. Events in almost every 
former state, but especially the larger ones, underscore one state- 
ment made about Mewar (Udaipur) : ' . . .nine tenths of the retainers 
have been turned away. . .Visitors were few, even the Jagirdars 
only putting in a perfunctory appearance; many of them had 
commuted with a cash payment the duty of attending upon their 
Ruler, which had once seemed a privilege.' 64 This parallels in most 
essentials the observation made over a century earlier, when 
the annexation of states by the British was generating considerable 
uneasiness, to culminate in the rebellion of 1857: ' . . .when a great 
state falls, its nobility and its supporters must to some extent 
suffer with it: a dominant sect and party. . .cannot return to the 
ordinary level of society and the common occupations of life, 
without feeling some discontent and some enmity. . . '. 65 Those 
who would understand current Indian politics would do well to 
appreciate the contemporary relevance of this judgment. It would 
be a mistake to assume that India's aristocracy is fully reconciled 


Indian Right Wing: Social and Doctrinal 

to the new dispensation, and the sentiments discussed above still 
animate many. And as will be seen subsequently, the residual 
appeal of India's aristocrats is still great. They must, therefore, be 
considered potentially powerful actors in a conservative direction. 

In some ways, the upper castes at the village level advanced 
positions comparable to those of the aristocrats. 66 As one scholar 
has observed, the decline of the Brahmins and kshatryas 'is not a 
happy thought' for these classes, and ' the prospect of. . . degenera- 
tion' which would bring the sudras and untouchables into greater 
prominence was 'an appalling prospect'. 67 Numerous village 
studies fully document this point, and in so far as the untouchable 
is to have any place at all, it will be through 'knowing his place' 
and hoping for the best. 68 Upper castes complain that lower castes 
'are now swollen headed. They do not want to serve us, and we 
cannot depend on them.' 69 Efforts by some government servants 
to work directly with the lower castes at the village level have 
generated ' coldness and even hostility from groups on the higher 
levels of the social hierarchy' who ask themselves 'whether the 
government was out to destroy the social system of the Hindus '. 70 
One effort by prominent private citizens and government officials 
to gain temple entry for untouchables elicited the response: 'The 
government is mixing the maize with the millet. We are helpless.' 
But not all felt helpless : upon turning the group back a local notable 
is reported to have said, 'you can tell Mr Nehru from me to go to 
hell. The whole town will back us.' 71 A wide range of coercive 
techniques has been employed by higher castes to keep the lower 
orders ' in their place ', and this in its own way is an important mani- 
festation of conservatism, albeit of a less politically organized sort. 

Even middle-caste Hindus who might be vehemently opposed to 
Brahminical or aristocratic pre-eminence come down heavily on the 
lowest classes. Thus, the anti-Brahmin Justice party had this to 
say about temple entry for certain harijan groups : 

For many centuries these people most of whom until recently were 
Animists, were content to worship at their own shrines, and to try to 
force themselves into Hindu temples is not... to make themselves 
popular. Nor can we think that any grave wrong is done by their con- 
tinued exclusion. . .They would be better occupied in improving their 
own conditions than in violent attempts to assert rights which no one 
heard of till a few years ago. 72 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

Suggesting that some in government service share such sentiments 
is the pathetic statement from an official publication on the condi- 
tion of harijans : 

Alcoholic liquor and other intoxicating drugs and drinks are, indeed, the 
Public Enemy Number One of the backward classes. Indulgence in 
these eats into their meagre resources and deprives them and their 
families of their essential requirements. It saps their vitality and under- 
mines their physique and minds . . . much is being done to educate the 
harijans to reform their extravagant habits and customs. 73 

So, too, many middle peasants and substantial tenants have been 
quite willing to see the end of large-scale landlordism, without 
being in any way solicitous of those who are subordinated to them; 
and they frequently condemn efforts to give land to the landless as 
contrary to dharma or else as unproductive, i.e. land is given to 
people who are held to be incompetent to cultivate it properly. In 
these and other ways, caste Hindus demonstrate their sense of 
superiority either explicitly or implicitly to the depressed castes; 
and they demonstrate as well their refusal to confront the funda- 
mental problems of rural India. Still, it is important to note that 
non-conservative vocabulary is often used (i.e. efficient cultivation) 
to deny the claims of depressed groups. Furthermore, it is also 
important to note that the exponents of these views are not neces- 
sarily sympathetic to aristocratic or Brahmin world- views : many 
anti-kshatrya and anti-Brahmin groups have challenged the position 
of these superior classes, while steadfastly denying the claims of 
those who remain below them. 74 

More difficult to come to grips with than such straightforward 
manifestations of conservatism is a doctrine whose practical con- 
sequences are profoundly conservative, even though its exponents 
profess to want certain major changes in Indian life. This doctrine 
has as its core an image of an idealized village community, some- 
times alleged to have existed in ancient India. It has as its principal 
roots (i) the view that village India is the real India; (2) the reac- 
tion against imperialist arrogance and against the corrosive effects 
of British rule on traditional, village India, pitting the real India 
against the west; and (3) linked to this, the virtually universal 
reaction to the dislocations of the early stages of industrialization, 
including Indian variants on Luddite and Utopian socialist themes. 75 
The association of Gandhi's name, rightly or wrongly, with this 


Indian Right Wing: Social and Doctrinal 

strand of thought accounts in large measure for its potent emotional 

Different exponents of this doctrine naturally give it different 
twists and embellishments, but some major perspectives are 
almost universally shared. Of central importance is the view that 
the Indian village is, or was at one time, almost an idyllic, self- 
reliant, harmonious, spiritual little republic. The caste system, one 
of the most uniformly condemned aspects of Indian life, was, 
according to this view, originally a plausible approach to the re- 
quirement of a division of social function and did not contain the 
rigidities commonly associated with it in recent times. Nor did it 
relegate a significant segment of the population to the position of 
untouchables. The * good life ' was approximated under this system, 
and even if the presently existing villages fall far short of this 
picture, it is only within the village context, somehow purified, 
that the 'good life' can now be attained by Indians. 

The anti-western and anti-industrial themes are related to this 
one and are also almost uniformly articulated. The introduction 
of machine-made goods, both foreign and domestic; the intro- 
duction of western legal procedures, western education, western 
political processes, and the like, is widely portrayed as the cause 
of the present distress. There is a general rejection of individualism, 
in favour of social co-operation and concern for larger social 
groupings, Specifically, there is a rejection of the competition 
associated with laissez faire economics, of the win-or-lose struggle 
associated with western legal processes, and of its alleged parallel 
in western, 'adversary' style party politics. The individual is to 
subordinate his passions and needs to those of the extended family, 
the caste, and the village as a whole; and an important corollary of 
this basic view is the requirement that the rich, the wise and the 
well-born must use their advantages for the common good — the 
so-called doctrine of trusteeship. Because co-operation and 
harmony are major desiderata, conflict and coercion in any form 
are not permissible; and here the notions of £ class war' and even of 
legislation through majority rule are to be rejected. In so far as 
privileged classes use coercive techniques which are to be elimin- 
ated, education in the doctrine of trusteeship must provide the 
corrective. It is generally argued that the ideal can be approximated 
only in smaller communities unsullied by significant concern for 
material things; hence, urbanization and industrialization along 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

western lines must be resisted. Indian spirituality must be main- 
tained in the face of western materialism. 76 

The contention that such perspectives have conservative impli- 
cations (in addition to certain explicitly conservative views) is 
based on the following considerations. First of all, for many 
exponents of these ideas, the principal dangers to the idealized 
village system lie not in the village itself, e.g. in the caste hierarchy, 
in the gross inequalities which prevail locally, or in the degradation 
of the untouchables, but in the forces outside the village which are 
undermining it, e.g. industrialization, party politics, and the rest. 
Hence, in many cases there is relatively little attention devoted to 
the actual distribution of power in the Indian village and to the 
manner in which those who have power use it. Secondly, when the 
rural power pattern is realistically examined and changes are 
deemed necessary, the latter are to be achieved through education 
in trusteeship, as already noted. 77 Other conceivable techniques 
are incompatible with the demand for harmony and co-operation 
and non-violence. Thirdly, the pattern of constraints within the 
joint family and caste are often totally neglected (as are the con- 
straints within the village as a whole), and these social groupings are 
looked upon as instruments of social welfare and/or of moral 
discipline. 78 Fourthly, while there is some attention given to the 
desperate plight of the lowest classes, there is less than passionate 
concern for their unhappy material condition because a concern 
for material affairs tends to erode concern for spiritual matters. 
Thus Rajaji has supported Gandhi in the view that 'civilization 
consists not in the multiplication of wants but in the deliberate 
and voluntary restriction of wants ', and he also supported the view 
that 'high thinking is inconsistent with a complicated material 
life, based on high speed imposed on us by mammon worship'. 79 
Hence, the cynic could conclude, India's poorest people are really 
better off, or at least they have a head start in the race for the 
good life! 

From some vantage points, it is really immaterial whether one 
calls the exponents of such views conservatives, reactionaries, 
'messiahs of backwardness', Utopian socialists, 'spiritualized 
Luddites', or something else more or less flattering. 80 In some 
respects, it also matters little whether one assumes that they 
genuinely desire the changes which they profess to want or whether 
one insists that they are frauds. The important point is that policies 


Indian Right Wing: Social and Doctrinal 

consistent with the model of the idealized village would serve as 
almost a total bar to any major transformation of the Indian village. 
In other words, the doctrine supports the status quo in fact, if not 
in theory. Particularly for the lowest strata of the population there 
is little hope for significant improvement, materially or otherwise. 
It is abundantly clear from the historical and current state of the 
Indian village that there is no salvation for the lowest strata within 
that framework, in all probability even with the advent of com- 
petitive politics and the impingement of external forces, but 
certainly not without them. And the entire history of mankind 
should be proof that privileged classes do not become trustees to 
any significant degree without substantial pressure from below or 
from competing elites who speak for the lower classes. If, as 
commonly argued, the capacity of the lowest classes to act success- 
fully on their own behalf requires a secure economic base, then 
the defence of a rural economy and the scorn for material concerns 
is especially supportive of the status quo. Under existing and fore- 
seeable Indian conditions (tremendous overpopulation relative to 
available arable land, etc.), the village itself simply cannot provide 
the economic underpinnings needed to sustain a movement for the 
betterment of the lowest classes. 81 Even efforts from supra-village 
quarters to improve the conditions of the * poorest he' often 
founder as a result of the vulnerability of the lowest classes to 
coercion in one form or another on the part of the village elite. 82 

If the commitment to co-operation, trusteeship, and the like 
precludes any major changes in the village in the interests of lower 
class advance, the anti-urban, anti-industrial commitments clearly 
run counter to the interests of the urban industrial class. It is easy 
to see, therefore, why the exponents of the idealized village did not 
endear themselves to untouchable leaders, such as Ambedkar, or to 
India's captains of industry. But it is also easy to understand why 
the former were much more concerned than the latter. To the un- 
touchable, a defence of the village was a defence of his prison. To 
the industrialist, a defence of the village was more a nuisance than 
a threat, although, as we shall see, it has given the captains of 
industry cause for some serious complaints. 

Also important is the fact that in its defence of the traditions 
(real or imagined) of the east against the incursions of the west, this 
strand of thought overlaps with some parts of the aristocratic 
argument sketched above — although it is evident that the village 

3 33 esp 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

model is essentially unencumbered by any concern for aristocratic 
institutions and values. Similarly important is the fact that this 
doctrine to some extent fuses anti-imperialism and anti-reformism, 
generating some of the analytical difficulties already noted. The 
fact that this doctrine does defend India against the west and that 
it can be sanctified by the invocation of Gandhi's name makes it an 
almost uniquely attractive refuge for all manner of knaves, 
scoundrels, reactionaries, etc., as well as genuine conservatives, in 
addition to those who earnestly desire substantial changes along 
'Gandhian' lines. This is particularly important because of the 
difficulty of articulating explicitly conservative positions in India, 
especially in the Nehru era. Even in the hands of those who 
genuinely want change, this doctrine is conservative in its practical 
consequences; and, of course, it is quite explicitly conservative in 
some respects. Those who use it as a more respectable facade for a 
commitment to the status quo only re-enforce its conservative 
impact. In examining the nature, problems, and prospects of 
Indian conservatism, we must give much weight to the fact that 
this doctrine, which represents 'disguised' conservatism, is 
available and persuasive to many Indians; and it will be considered 
in further detail as it is advanced by one of its more articulate 
exponents, Rajaji. 

Many of those who were adversely affected by and/or deeply 
resented the penetration of western ideas, whether via the British 
or via westernized Indians, did not in response take refuge in 
heavy-handed Hindu orthodoxy or in the de facto conservatism of 
the defenders of the idealized village. By contrast with these 
strands of thought, others espoused views which are more properly 
called right radical rather than conservative or reactionary and 
chose to emphasize a renascent, revitalized Hinduism as the basis 
for their commitment. 

If one pieces together the assorted evidence, a strongly suggestive 
ideal-type may be sketched. The social bases for militant Hinduism 
are diverse, but prominent at one time or another have been various 
dislocated or dispossessed segments of the population: refugees 
from Pakistan, former princely state retainers, and many lower 
middle-class elements, such as lesser Rajput landholders, smaller 
businessmen and shopkeepers, traders, and the like. 83 Much of the 
leadership and intellectual inspiration for this component of the 


Indian Right Wing: Social and Doctrinal 

Indian right has come from Maharashtra and from a singularly 
prominent community, the Chitpavan Brahmins of the Poona area, 
a militant and very 'political' caste associated with the Maratha 
confederacy. In the background stand many of the great figures 
of the Hindu renaissance — Dayanand Saraswati, Vivekananda, 
Aurobindo, Tilak, Lajpat Rai, Bepin Chandra Pal, V. D. Savarkar, 
among many others. 

As in the preceding case, no simple characterization will apply 
uniformly to all of these leading figures and component groups, 
but in the present context, the individual variants are less import- 
ant than the general thrust. And this thrust is clear enough. What 
is wanted is a unified, disciplined, militant and militarized Hindu 
community, bound together as far as possible in a full-fledged 
gemeinschaft by ties of blood, culture, language, religion, and the 
like, and capable of taking a leading place among the nations of the 
world as a consequence. In most formal statements, traditional 
caste distinctions are laid aside and even the untouchables are to 
be admitted to the fold of respectable Hindus, if only to keep alien 
religions (Islam, Buddhism, Christianity) from making inroads 
into Hinduism (thus 'denationalizing' Hindustan's people), and to 
prevent the exploitation of caste differences to the detriment of 
national solidarity and strength. India's historic political fragmen- 
tation and the instability of her macro-political institutions are 
seen as sources of great weakness. Therefore, instead of defending 
the congeries of princely states and instead of defending the 
idealized village (with supra-village institutions having minimal 
functions), the preferred polity is a highly centralized and if neces- 
sary a highly authoritarian state. The determination that India must 
not only become immune to internal discord and disintegrative 
forces, but must also be able to prevent further foreign conquests, 
leads in turn to an emphasis on military strength and its inevitable 
concomitant, modern industry — in sharp contrast with the 
emphasis of the ' Gandhians ' on the village economy and asceticism. 
Tilak's insistence that 'one common religion becomes a great 
means to create mutual affinity and sympathy among people' and 
Savarkar's slogan, ' Hinduize all politics and militarize Hindudom ', 
satisfactorily suggest the preoccupations of the militant Hindus. 84 

It is essential to stress that the militant Hindu ideal represents a 
considerable departure from traditional Indian norms and institu- 
tions, while conceding at the same time that many followers of 

35 3-2 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

Tilak et al. were steadfastly orthodox and while conceding that 
the effort to 'return to the Vedas' represents an effort to relate this 
ideal to an earlier Indian tradition. The anti-traditional dimensions 
become somewhat clearer when we realize that many orthodox 
Hindus 'joined the Sanatan Dharma Sabha, which had been 
created in 1885 as a defence of orthodox Hinduism against the 
criticisms of the Arya Samaj ', one of the early vehicles for a 
renascent, purified Hinduism. 85 That this ideal has strongly 
communal and proto-fascist tendencies is undeniable; that it makes 
no concessions either to secularism or to a solid sense of diversity 
and pluralism is also undeniable. But that at least on paper it 
represents a departure of no small proportions from the other 
streams of thought must also be conceded. While there is far from 
complete congruence between social group and doctrinal position 
there is sufficient overlap in some regions so that ideological and 
social splits are mutually re-enforcing, to the detriment of a broad, 
rightist coalition. In addition, because militant Hinduism is based 
on specifically Hindu appeals, and because the desired linguistic 
unity is to be achieved through the use of Hindi as a national 
language, non-Hindu and non-Hindi-speaking rightists will be 
largely alienated, rendering even more difficult the creation of a 
cohesive rightist force. The discussion of the Jan Sangh and of 
right-wing unity efforts, below, will elaborate all of these major 
points, as will the discussion of K. M. Munshi, of the Swatantra 
'inner circle'. 

In light of the diverse inquiries into the origins of capitalism in 
the west, it is particularly important to try to delineate the doc- 
trinal position of the Indian bourgeoisie. To what extent did this 
class in India play a role comparable to its counterparts in the west? 
To what extent, in short, has it been anti-traditional and liberal? 
To what extent was the colonial setting responsible for departures 
from the pattern of one or another western nation? To what extent 
was anti-traditionalism suppressed, for example, in the interests of 
anti-imperialism, and to what extent was it suppressed as well in 
the interests of anti-socialism? To what extent can the contempo- 
rary Indian bourgeoisie be spoken of as a conservative or rightist 
force? Only sketchy answers to these questions are possible here, 
but even these will provide important materials for an understand- 
ing of contemporary Indian conservatism. 


Indian Right Wing: Social and Doctrinal 

To put the matter in a nutshell, the Indian urban classes, both in 
ancient and more recent times, have fought against the constraints 
imposed by traditional Hindu institutions and by the political 
chaos which characterized the princely polities; but at no time has 
this fight resulted in a more or less complete, sustained victory for 
the urban classes. In recent times, when the urban classes took on 
more of an industrial and professional (rather than commercial) 
quality, there was still no broad-based commitment to a doctrine 
which was directed principally and explicitly against indigenous 

Some historical points are pertinent here. It is well known, for 
example, that India's urban classes, in ancient times, gave con- 
siderable support to anti-Brahminical, protestant religions, notably 
Buddhism and Jainism, in an effort to escape the inferior position 
to which they were assigned by Brahminical teachings. Yet this 
did not result in a permanent breakthrough: Buddhism, though it 
left its imprint on subsequent religious development in India, 
has all but disappeared from the land of its birth; and Jainism, 
which survives, has only a tiny, if important following, which for 
the most part considers itself a reformed sect of Hinduism. 86 India's 
business communities were mostly re-embedded in the Hindu 
social order, in an inferior position, upon the Hindu 'restoration'. 

A second major historical example concerns the distress of urban 
commercial groups under Akbar and other Mogul emperors. At 
some junctures, the Mogul imperial service itself undertook some 
manufacturing and commerce, and Akbar and some of his Mogul 
successors claimed and often availed themselves of the right to 
inherit the property of all subjects, including that of wealthy busi- 
nessmen, who were tempting prey. These and other circumstances 
were obviously unsatisfactory from the standpoint of a stable, 
flourishing private commerce and manufacture; but about the 
best that could be done by the Marwaris, for example, was to repair 
to the relatively barren wastes of Rajasthan, in order to escape 
Mogul depredations. There was no breakthrough here either. 87 

Weber, in his studies of Indian religion and society and of urban 
development in the west, has, of course, stressed the absence of 
equivalents of the protestant ethic, in attempting to explain the 
weakness of India's urban classes in traditional society. This 
interpretation has, however, been widely and in some cases 
persuasively disputed. But Weber has also emphasized the social 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

fragmentation of the Indian population, in explaining why India's 
burghers did not establish urban brotherhoods comparable to 
those which led the fight against feudalism in the west. The latter 
argument certainly deserves close attention, in view of the enduring 
social barriers to the creation of a business class in India, by con- 
trast with the collection of communities and castes. 88 

Also important is the fact that many leading business groups 
supported the British in the rebellion of 1857. This indicates that 
the Pax Britannica, whatever its limitations, represented an advance 
over the political chaos, the depredations, the confiscatory policies, 
the customs and transit duties, and the like, which adversely 
affected Indian business prior to the stabilization of British rule. 
Implicit here is a rejection of the imperial-princely political order 
of pre-British days, but it says little specifically about the broader 
questions of liberalism associated with the rise of urban classes in 
the west. That Indian business later turned against the British 
because the latter seemed to impose great constraints on the 
former (but in the interests of British business, more than of 
traditional India), is also important in another connection to be 
discussed shortly. For the moment, however, it is sufficient to note 
that Indian business has historically shown certain anti-traditional 
tendencies but that these were never translated into a self-sustaining 
movement which overcame the constraints of traditional India. 

In a detailed study, the preceding remarks would have to be 
qualified in a number of important respects. Certainly many 
Indian business elements managed to accumulate great fortunes, 
even in the darker days of political instability and chaos, or of 
autocratic abuse. Also, there were important variations in the 
pattern of inter-class relationships, depending on time and region. 
Lamb has argued, for example, that during certain eras, Indian 
businessmen seem to have been held in high esteem and seemed 
also to thrive; and Harrison, among others, has noted that in 
Gujarat, where businessmen are largely local, they have generally 
been held in higher esteem than in other areas, where leading 
businessmen were outsiders to the region. 89 (This in itself suggests 
some of the obstacles to the creation of a national business class.) 
So, too, the tiny Parsi community proved to be extremely adaptive, 
and many of their number Anglicized widely and rapidly. In and 
around Bombay, they served as an important nucleus of social 
mobility, outside of the Hindu social structure. 


Indian Right Wing: Social and Doctrinal 

What has been lacking in recent times is a direct assault on 
traditional society. Even the Parsis were in no position to do much 
on this score, because they were so few in number (100,000), very 
much localized, and of alien origin. In fact, the rapid westerniza- 
tion of many Parsis and their close association with the British 
exposed them to some sharp criticism from more traditional and 
militant Hindu groups, although relations were, generally, good. 
There was certainly some anxiety among Parsis, lest a Hindu 
renaissance deprive them of their strong position in commerce and 
industry, while with the gradual democratization of politics, their 
fortunes in this area declined. 90 

By contrast with the westernizing Parsis, the Marwaris, even in 
Calcutta, remained ' an orthodox community . . . hardly touched by 
the social and intellectual reform movements launched by Bengali 
intellectuals 5 , 91 although they did apparently support the British 
during the 1857 rebellion. If they were not in the forefront of re- 
form movements, the Marwaris have more recently been in the 
forefront of anti-parochial political movements, as the most nearly 
national business community. 92 So also the Marwaris supported 
the States' Peoples' movement in what is now Rajasthan, and their 
southern counterparts (the Chettiars et al.) supported the Justice 
Party, indicating that there was resentment against the Rajput 
aristocracy on the one hand and against the Brahmin elite on the 
other. 93 But such opposition to an elite caste was not generalized 
into a broadly liberal movement against the rigidities of the Hindu 
social structure. Even so, sharp conflicts between Brahmin and 
aristocratic elements on the one hand and business interests on 
the other are discernible, as one would imagine from the kshatrya 
condemnation of the Congress, e.g. as run by tradesmen who were 
not born to rule. 

During the twentieth century, business attacks were directed 
primarily against the British, not against traditional India. Empha- 
sizing the privileged position of British interests and lack of support 
for Indian interests, Indian business leadership, within the con- 
text of the Pax Britannica, demanded much state assistance. 
Feeling increasingly frustrated by the British, they turned in- 
creasingly to the Congress as a vehicle for their demands. Because 
the aristocratic elements were alined with the British in delaying 
independence, the business interests criticized the aristocrats, 
often very sharply, but primarily on narrow, political grounds. 94 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

This is another aspect of the business-aristocratic split, and in this 
limited sense can business support for the Congress be viewed as 
something of a surrogate for a stand against the old order. The need 
to maintain Congress cohesion seems to have precluded any 
broad-based attack on traditional India, and, in any event, it is far 
from clear that any but the Parsis, as a group, were particularly 
willing or anxious to see a massive erosion of traditional India. 
We can only speculate about this point, but it seems plausible that 
to have been anti-traditional might have been interpreted as being 
anti-Indian in the colonial situation, thus weakening business 
attacks against the ancien regime. 

The attitudes of Indian business require further clarification, 
because of some rather superficial judgments made about business' 
apparently weak commitment to an industrial, free enterprise 
ideology. Some interpret business support for Gandhi as an 
endorsement of his economic preferences, while others stress a 
'socialist' strain in Indian business thinking, which is sometimes 
related to the principle of trusteeship. 95 But either way, business- 
men would seem ill-suited to perform a broadly liberalizing role. 
It is probably true that Gandhi's involvement in such matters as 
a ban on cow-slaughter appealed to the more orthodox Hindu and 
Jain businessmen; and it is perhaps true that Gandhi's 'saintly' 
qualities struck a responsive chord. Both may help to explain 
business support for the Gandhian Congress, but this is far from 
proof that Gandhi's economic views were being endorsed. In fact, 
there is ample evidence to the contrary, including some from those 
very people who were most generous in their financial support for 
Gandhi's activities. For example, G. D. Birla, a leading Marwari 
businessman and a principal contributor to Congress coffers, 
observed that Gandhi 'believed in small-scale industries' while he 
(Birla) 'believed in the industrialization of the country through 
large-scale industries '. Many businessmen, among others, objected 
to aspects of Gandhi's constructive programme for rural uplift 
and to the requirement that Congressmen must spin some cloth 
by hand, wear homespun, and so on, which Gandhi emphasized. 
Moreover, in the post-independence period many businessmen 
(particularly in textiles) vehemently object to efforts to sustain the 
cottage textile industry through restrictions on machine output, 
excise levies, and the like. This is the point of most direct contact 
between Gandhian and urban-industrial values, and on the basis 


Indian Right Wing: Social and Doctrinal 

of the evidence available, it is not possible to conclude that business 
groups have embraced Gandhism, although they may feel obliged 
to pay lip service to it because of the appeal of Gandhian thought. 96 
In terms of technology, then, Indian business is not particularly 
antiquarian in outlook, however conservative some may be religi- 
ously and socially. The idealized village model finds little favour 
among businessmen, at least in its critical economic aspects. 

Whatever value one may want to attach to religious and saintly 
matters in explaining business support for Gandhi, it is obvious 
that there were other reasons; and these relate, in part, to the 
alleged socialist tendencies of Indian business. For one thing, 
given the generally bad image of Indian businessmen, Gandhi's 
emphasis on trusteeship could only be advantageous, because it 
helped to deflect certain kinds of criticism of the business elite. 
Nehru, for example, was quite abusive in the 1930s and was on 
record as saying that ' our captains of industry are quite amazingly 
backward in their ideas; they are not even up-to-date capitalists. . . ', 
which ties in, of course, with some of the Weberian arguments 
about Indian business. In addition, many anti-industrial peasant 
leaders, such as N. G. Ranga (now the Swatantra President), 
were attacking Gandhi for being so solicitous of the interests of 
Indian businessmen. 97 In this light, Weiner's conclusion that the 
radical elements in the 1930s 'did not alarm the business com- 
munity 5 simply will not bear scrutiny; and once again we have the 
unimpeachable testimony of businessmen themselves. At the 
Round Table Conferences, Birla warned the British that Gandhi, 
' who has proved himself in many respects a greater Conservative 
than many of you', might not be able to check the rise of radical- 
ism; and he urged Britain to yield to moderate demands before it 
was too late. In a letter to Sir Samuel Hoare, Birla was even more 
explicit, in arguing that Gandhi ' alone is responsible for keeping the 
left wing in India in check 5 . 98 Indian businessmen perhaps did 
not visualize the hammer-and-sickle flying over parliament house, 
but they certainly were apprehensive about the socialist tendencies 
in the Congress — in many cases even before the formation of the 
Congress Socialist Party (CSP) in 1934. The crisis of confidence, 
including a massive 'strike of capital 5 , immediately after inde- 
pendence reflected the same apprehension. 99 

Other suggested indices of businessmen 5 s socialist tendencies 
must also be viewed with caution. The much-heralded ' Bombay 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

Plan' did set forth a programme for Indian development in which 
the government was assigned a place. But it is clear, on the one 
hand, that it was partly inspired by a desire to outflank incipient 
planning efforts of the Congress itself, and, on the other, that it 
involved, from the standpoint of private enterprise, little more 
than maximum state assistance with minimum state control. 100 
Similarly, the fact that the business communities have not rejected 
the underlying principles of the five-year plans is due partly to the 
benefits which accrue to private enterprise as a result of govern- 
ment planning and partly to the difficulties involved in running 
counter to the prevailing socialist rhetoric. Under the circum- 
stances it is little wonder that private enterprise argues more over 
the details of the plans rather than the whole concept of planning, 
and it is little wonder that even the most steadfastly free enterprise 
group— the Forum of Free Enterprise (FFE)— explicitly renounces 
unbridled laissez faire and admits that at present the government 
must play a role in economic development. 101 But all of this is very 
far from proving that Indian businessmen have 'sold out 5 or are 
excessively timid. A careful reading of the statements of business 
chambers, of individual firms and of individual industrialists will 
indicate that the sum total of specific grievances constitutes a quite 
strong attack on the existing approach of the government and a 
request to revert, in effect, to the principles of the Bombay Plan. 

In the best of all possible worlds, business would certainly like 
to have maximum state support with minimum state controls. 
Under Nehru, at least, this was not feasible, and the positions 
taken by Indian businessmen reflect the need to come to terms 
with the 'socialist pattern' as advanced by Nehru. In this connec- 
tion, Weiner's conclusion about Indian private enterprise is worth 
noting: 'Most probably it could survive without it [representative 
government], and may take no steps to save it; but on the other 
hand, Indian business is not likely— in the foreseeable future— to 
take steps to destroy the institutions of representative government. 
That is of no small importance.' 102 This is admittedly a consolation, 
and it is of importance. But we must also ask other questions. To 
what extent will Indian business press for economic moderniza- 
tion, as, for example, in the opposition to subsidized cottage 
industries? The limited evidence suggests that this fight will, in 
some sectors, be carried on with vigour, even though it runs 
counter to much Gandhian rhetoric. 103 To what extent will busi- 


Indian Right Wing: Social and Doctrinal 

ness subordinate its own interests to broader social purposes, 
assuming that what is good for Indian private enterprise is not 
ipso facto good for India? Here the record is mixed, and much 
business behaviour described by Brecher, for example, leads to un- 
favourable conclusions. 104 To what extent would business aline with 
rural interests to suppress organized labour? There is limited 
evidence to suggest that business would go a long way in this 
direction. 105 To what extent would business aline with reactionary 
and/or conservative interests within the framework of parliamentary 
institutions , if the Indian left showed signs of increasing strength? 
This is one of the central issues of the Swatantra coalition, and we 
shall see here that the record is mixed but that there is perhaps more 
grist for the pessimist's mill than for the optimist's. These are also 
critical questions to ask about Indian business, and Weiner's 
conclusion about business and parliamentary democracy says little 
if anything about them. In approaching these and related questions, 
the historic alliance, in the Congress, between business and the 
peasantry is important, as is the gap which was created by the 
colonial setting between business and the aristocracy. To the extent 
that business fails to challenge the old order, to the extent that its 
fears of socialism drive it into alliances with the aristocracy or 
landed interests, to this extent business might be considered as a 
component of the conservative camp. The record thus far suggests 
a Janus-like stance between traditional India and socialist ele- 
ments but one in which business has been unable or unwilling (or 
perhaps has found it unnecessary) to mount a potent attack on the 
former and thus play a broadly liberalizing role in Indian society. 
In part, this is due to the slowness with which business is over- 
coming the community and caste barriers to effective class action. 
All of this, too, 'is of no small importance'. 

If we take an essentially western view of what is modern or 
developed, it is clear from the foregoing that the social groups 
and/or doctrinal strands just discussed have different potentialities 
for development, and it is well to spell these out, however briefly. 
At the same time it is necessary to bear in mind that within each 
group or doctrinal strand there are important variations, which 
make neat categorization difficult. 

Of the doctrinal strands, the full-blown idealized village model 
seems clearly to admit the least progress, however much change its 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

adherents may desire. It is quite explicitly anti-industrial, although 
some modest, local industries may be countenanced. In the political 
realm, it holds out little hope for a substantial alteration in the rural 
power structure and it is quite explicitly opposed to heavy reliance 
on national political institutions, working counter to the develop- 
ment of a modern nation-state. In the social realm, too, it holds out 
little hope for substantial alteration in relationships among broad 
social groups, and many of its proponents explicitly announce 
that little change is needed. 

In some of these respects, the aristocratic strand of thought is 
more compatible with modernization. The feeling of social 
superiority certainly remains and there are some barriers to 
effective participation in contemporary party politics. But many 
aristocrats are fully committed to and involved in modern industry, 
even though few will be found in the lead of pro-industrial spokes- 
men. Somewhat fewer, it would appear, are committed to be- 
coming Tory democrats. But if— and this is a big ' if '—more 
leading aristocrats were to broaden their perspectives beyond 
residual bitterness against the Congress and were to participate 
more in the industrial economy and the modern polity, a rather 
sanguine assessment of their potential role in Indian life would be 
possible. A combination of Tory democracy and a commitment to 
industrialization would go a long way to making the aristocrats 
agents of important changes, or, if not that, at least capable of 
adjusting to and accepting certain important changes, well beyond 
those tolerable to the Gandhians. At least in the realm of technology 
and in the development of a modern nation-state, the aristocrats 
could play a useful role, if they can be reconciled to and be 
persuaded to participate more widely in the modern economy and 

The strand of militant Hinduism is, as described here, explicitly 
committed to economic modernization, to social change, and to the 
creation of a modern nation-state. Its emphasis on Hinduism and 
on religio-cultural matters may disturb those who feel that pragma- 
tism, secularism, and national citizenship are essential aspects of 
modernization; and communal tensions are a serious danger 
inherent in this approach. Yet an industrialized nation-state with 
altered class lines is called for, even if it is not secular and con- 
stitutional-democratic; and, unlike the Gandhians, the militant 
Hindus are willing to countenance almost any means to achieve 


Indian Right Wing: Social and Doctrinal 

their ends. There are, of course, differences among the militant 
Hindus, as between those whose principal concern is with the 
religio-cultural realm and those who are mainly concerned about 
an industrialized, centralized state; but in most major respects 
this strand of thought is not antithetical to and could well facilitate 
modernization in many areas of Indian life. In the discussion of 
right-wing parties which follows, further evidence about moderni- 
zation in connection with these different strands of thought will be 





The diverse groups and doctrinal positions which have just been 
discussed were not effectively mobilized into a cohesive force 
during the years 1947-59. Many important groups and individuals 
simply remained on the political sidelines, whether through resigna- 
tion, fear of reprisals, or, as in the case of the aristocrats, through an 
inability to transcend the ethos of the ancien regime, with its heredi- 
tary basis for political power. 1 Many leading individuals contested 
as independents rather than through an organized political group, 
and this again was particularly true of the aristocracy and other 
local notables who could capitalize on residual, traditional loyalties 
and on the * organizational ' aspects of the extended family and 
caste. Some, indeed, took great pride in the fact that they did not 
have to participate in organized party politics to ensure success. 
This is evident from the assertion of a former dewan (Prime 
Minister) of the Rajput state of Bikaner: 'We came in without 
any programme, without any party, and defeated these Congress- 
men', and from Bailey's report that 'one ex-raja told me "I 
promised them nothing. I had no arguments. I just asked them to 
vote for me. I suppose there were a few party workers, but I had 
nothing to do with them.'" 2 Local and state-wide parties, often 
extensions of caste groups and/or ad hoc groups established for 
such purposes as fighting land reform legislation, represented 
another channel of political activity, further along the path toward 
more organized party politics. 3 Finally, more ambitious political 
groups, with all-India pretensions if not all-India impact, served 
as vehicles for one or more of these elements, but of all Indian 
parties, only the Congress was truly national in scope. In many 
areas, a number of rightist candidates contested against one another, 
further weakening the impact of already fragmented forces. The 
supposed compulsions of the single-member, plurality-vote con- 
stituency did little to generate a discernible trend toward a two- 
party system, even on the state level. 4 Given the overwhelming 
supremacy of the Congress in the days before independence and 


Indian Right Wing: Political Parties 

given the fact that it was virtually the only broadly based, well- 
organized political force in pre-independence India, it is no 
wonder that a comparable opposition political force did not 
emerge full-blown with the advent of the general elections. And, 
as we have seen, there were very substantial obstacles to the emer- 
gence of such a force, on the right, which was in part unmobilized 
and very much fragmented. As long as these conditions remained, 
the emergence of an effective right-wing opposition was precluded. 
None the less, if the support given to all of the disparate rightist 
forces — independents, local parties, and all-India parties— be con- 
sidered in the aggregate, it was by no means as negligible as most 
students of Indian affairs have suggested. 

A few preliminary observations will set the stage for an under- 
standing of the parties to be considered here : the Hindu Mahasabha, 
the Jan Sangh, the Ram Rajya Parishad (RRP), the Ganatantra 
Parishad, and the Janata Party. First, only the Ganatantra Parishad 
had had even a share of power prior to 1959, and this occurred 
during a several-month-long coalition with the Congress in Orissa. 
Hence, it is not possible to judge these parties in terms of actual 
performance in office, even at the state level. 5 Secondly, the 
Ganatantra Parishad and the Janata Party were wholly local in 
inspiration, leadership, and orientation; and while the others had 
all- India pretensions, they were largely confined to the great 
Hindi-speaking heartland of north central India. Collectively, 
then, they were for all practical purposes confined to India north 
of the Vindhyas. Thirdly, only the Hindu Mahasabha had been 
established prior to independence but was still poorly organized; 
and only the Jan Sangh, via the para-military, 'cultural 5 group, 
the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS, which was also formed 
prior to independence), showed signs of a more modern, disci- 
plined organization. Generally speaking, party structures were 
rudimentary and were based heavily on residual support for 
traditional leaders. 6 Thus, in speaking of these parties as our 
examples of the rightist opposition, it is important to remember 
that they were generally of recent origin, poorly organized, and 
geographically circumscribed, both individually and collectively. 

The Janata Party, on which the least information is available, 
was organized in 1950 by Raja Kamakhya Narain Singh of 
Ramgarh, a fiery and fiercely proud Rajput zamindar-busmessman, 7 


1 m 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

in order 'to demonstrate that the sponsor [K. B. Sahay] of the 
zamindari abolition measure [in Bihar] has no support in his own 
district'. 8 In fact, as one report observed, Ramgarh's feud with 
Sahay 'has gone to the point of political fanaticism'. 9 Growing out 
of efforts to invalidate abolition legislation in the courts, Janata had 
its principal stronghold in the Hazaribagh plateau region of Bihar, 
with its heavily tribal population. An energetic organizer, the Raja 
has not only been supported by those who fell within the former 
Ramgarh raj, but he has extended Janata's influence beyond these 
boundaries, into adjacent, still largely tribal areas. Having given 
away personal forest rights and much land of unknown quality to 
the bhoodan (land-gift) movement of Vinoba Bhave, he is earnestly 
trying to develop the image of a Tory democrat, but with a 
marked fuhrer-prinzip embodied therein. At the same time, his 
ample modern business interests have freed him of any great 
dependence on the land for his continued personal comfort and 
they also suggest that he is personally forward-looking in the 
economic sphere. The key elements in his party's formal pro- 
gramme have been ' land to the tiller ', reduced land revenues, and 
a redrawing of state boundaries to restore to Bihar certain areas 
now in West Bengal. Suggestive of the Raja's political style, the 
Janata members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) resigned en 
bloc over the boundary issue and threatened satyagraha. Less often 
emphasized— although suggested by the Raja's own bhoodan con- 
tributions and his fight against zamindari abolition— is the fact 
that land reform is to come about through voluntary abandon- 
ment of holdings, i.e. never. Finally, it is important to note that 
some of the zamindars who joined with the Raja in fighting 
abolition legislation in the courts declined to join him in his sub- 
sequent political activity. 10 

A good deal more has been said about the Ganatantra Parishad, 
even if most of it has been based on ' logical ' extrapolations from 
the fact that it was founded by former rulers in highland Orissa. 
Thus, the most careful student of the Ganatantra Parishad to date 
has rightly observed: 'The Ganatantra Parishad seldom gets a 
good press. It is "reactionary" or "dominated by feudal interests 
and medieval traditions" or it is a party of "disgruntled prince- 
lings". Its rank and file are supposed to be illiterate tribals, hood- 
winked by the Rajas, and incapable of realizing that they are in 
the twentieth century . . . m However, while acknowledging the 


Indian Right Wing: Political Parties 

party's aristocratic origins and the debt which it owes to these 
origins for its considerable success, and while acknowledging as 
well that it contains some ' spectacularly atavistic rulers \ this same 
observer rejects the stereotype of the Parishad. In this view he has 
received support from seemingly improbable sources — the former 
socialist leader, Asok Mehta, and from an official election analysis 
by a prominent Congressman, Sadiq Ali. 12 

The Ganatantra Parishad took shape shortly prior to the 195 1-2 
elections under the leadership of the Maharajas of Kalahandi and 
Patna. While drawing on other royal families as well, the party's 
leadership came to include some middle-class professionals who had 
no connection whatever with the aristocracy. Despite efforts to 
broaden its base of support by organizing modestly in the coastal 
regions of Orissa, the party has had its greatest success in the 
heavily tribal, former princely areas of highland Orissa and in 
small adjacent districts of Bihar, which contain Oriya-speaking 

There are many signs that the Ganatantra Parishad is not 
motivated by a desire to restore the good old days of princely rule, 
although as expected the leaders defend their privy purses and 
other perquisites whenever they come under attack. In addition 
to the emergence of some middle-class, professional leadership, 13 
one could point to the fact that both Kalahandi and Patna 'had 
introduced administrations of the modern variety in their respective 
states ' and had established the rudiments of legislative assemblies. 14 
As an adopted heir, Patna in particular seemed to take his ruling 
responsibilities quite seriously indeed. 15 While they speak of the 
weakness of a non-personal administration, which strikes our ears 
as decidedly 'feudal', the leaders of the Parishad are correct to 
the extent that the administrative framework of the Government 
of Orissa has not been effectively established in the highland 
regions, leaving something of a vacuum. 

Beyond this, the Parishad has spent much of its parliamentary 
time speaking well for the people of highland Orissa, demanding 
resettlement assistance for those displaced by the waters behind 
the Hirakud Dam, demanding an end to the government's kendu 
leaf monopoly, and demanding, in general, greater government 
efforts to develop the Orissa highlands, among the most backward 
parts of India. In addition, the party has placed a good deal of 
emphasis on the Oriya-speaking peoples in present-day Bihar, 

4 49 esp 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

whose territories the party wants attached to Orissa state, and on 
' Orissa for the Oriyas \ 

Still further, the Parishad's programme has included a defence 
of large-scale and even nationalized industries, and recommended 
nationalization of those 'which have been established mostly at 
the cost of the government and yet are in private hands'; it has 
recommended nationalization of industries 'in which competition 
between the State and individual enterprises will not be conducive 
to public benefit'; and it recommended nationalization of mines 
'which shall be worked in the future'. 16 The party has also advo- 
cated the substitution of a progressive agricultural income tax for 
existing land revenues, a ceiling on agricultural incomes, a national 
minimum wage, some protection for cottage industries, and co- 
management and profit-sharing by management and labour in the 
industrial sector. 17 The leadership of the Parishad subscribes to 
the view that it would be futile to organize political parties solely 
on the basis of former aristocrats and for a restoration of their 
historic position, and they insist that theirs is a Burkean conserva- 
tive, centrist party, as suggested by its slogan, 'neither right, nor 
left, but a middle path'. 

It is for these reasons that Morris- Jones could quite safely refer to 
the Parishad as 'a party of mixed princely and popular character', 
and it helps to explain why Sadiq Ali could call it 'a respectable 
party with all appearances of a respectable programme and with 
some leaders who command some respect'. 18 It is for the same 
reasons that Bailey has such a high assessment of the party and that 
Mehta could say that 'the most interesting party combining tradi- 
tional loyalties with resilient outlook is the Ganatantra Parishad'. 19 
In light of the available evidence and these estimates, it simply will 
not do to label the party 'feudal' or 'reactionary' and let it go at 
that. The Parishad seems clearly to have been the best example of 
Tory democracy which has arisen in India, and in light of the 
approach of some aristocrats this is no mean accomplishment."" 


The Hindu Mahasabha, Jan Sangh, and RRP, in their com- 
munal aspect and in their concern for cultural matters such as 
religion, language and education, are best understood in terms of 
'the history of the Hindu reaction to the Western impact'. 21 
However, the broad similarities in this respect are not as important, 
for the present analysis, as the differences among them. Generally 


Indian Right Wing: Political Parties 

speaking, the RRP is far and away the most steadfastly conservative, 
if not reactionary, in terms of the orthodox, hierarchical, village- 
based model sketched above, while the Mahasabha and the Sangh 
represent the more militant, reformist Hindu elements. All three 
parties stress the ' despiritualization ' or 'denationalization' of 
Indians (more specifically of Hindus) through contact with the 
Muslim and European conquerors and westernized Indians, but 
the Mahasabha and the Sangh also emphasize the need to over- 
come the rigidities and the less attractive excrescences of recent 
Hinduism, as the RRP does not. The Mahasabha and RRP, as 
receding forces in Indian political life, will receive little attention 
here, while the more viable Jan Sangh will be examined in some 

The Mahasabha grew out of the formation of the first Hindu 
sabha in 1907, founded to counter the demands of the Muslim 
League, and throughout its existence the party has kept up its 
attacks on the League and its demand for Pakistan, on Pakistan 
itself after 1947, and on any Indians, including Gandhi and 
Nehru, who seemed excessively ' soft on Muslims \ Among those 
most vehemently castigated was veteran Congressman Rajaji, whose 
early recommendation that the Congress accept in principle the 
demand for Pakistan elicited some venomous attacks. 22 

Specifically restricted to Hindus, the Mahasabha has not only 
condemned allegedly pro-Muslim or pro-Pakistan positions, but 
it has also condemned the failure to support energetically the 
Hindu cause through education, support for religious institutions 
and efforts at reconversion of one-time Hindus, including former 
untouchables. Beyond this, the Mahasabha, in its official pro- 
gramme, has followed the major contours of militant Hinduism, as 
already outlined. Doubtless, not all Mahasabhites adhered to the 
reformist positions set forth by Savarkar and other leaders, but on 
the level of formal doctrinal pronouncements the commitment is 
clear enough. In the post-independence period, the Mahasabha 
suffered because Gandhi's assassins had been associated with it 
and with the RSS and because of Nehru's vehement condemna- 
tion of communal parties. On the whole, its electoral impact has 
been almost negligible, it lost ground from 195 1-2 to 1957, anc ^ 
many of its former adherents have repaired to the banner of the 
Jan Sangh. Where it has had some modest success, it drew on 
refugees from Pakistan and on urbanites in the interior areas of 

51 4-2 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

India, particularly in former princely states, where the impact of 
the west and of various post- 1947 reforms has been relatively light 
but by no means absent. 23 

By contrast with the more militant, chauvinistic and formally 
reformist posture of the Mahasabha, the RRP, founded in 1948 
by one Swami Karapatri, is certainly the most orthodox of all the 
rightist parties which have achieved any renown. The party 
manifesto waxes eloquent about the halcyon days of Lord Rama, 
about a largely rural economy based on the traditional jajmani 
system and on barter, about traditional systems of medicine such 
as ayurveda, about prohibition of alcoholic drink and of cow 
slaughter, and about comparable items, most of which are drawn 
from the catalogue of the 'messiahs of backwardness \ About as 
progressive a position as one can find in this handbook for Indian 
reactionaries and obscurantists is the recommendation that high 
positions in sanitation departments be given to untouchables, 
because this is in keeping with their traditional calling as sweepers 
and scavengers ! 

The RRP did manage to gain some support in India's most 
backward areas, such as Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, where it 
capitalized on the residual appeal of some local notables, mainly 
aristocrats, who accepted the party label. Virtually the only small 
consolation is the fact that many RRP standard-bearers did not 
believe in the absurdities of its programme (just as many Maha- 
sabhites did not believe in reformism). This does not do much to 
rescue the RRP from its obscurantism, but it does remind us that 
the RRP— and the other parties— cannot be judged entirely at 
face value. It is not represented solely by those who wish to march 
backward to the days before the Muslim and British conquests 
and the industrial and scientific revolutions. 24 

Far more important in terms of its electoral record and organiza- 
tion is the Jan Sangh, founded in 195 1 by Shyama Prasad Mooker- 
jee, a former leader of the Mahasabha, and by members of the 
RSS, which 'had been informally connected with the Mahasabha 
for some time 5 . 25 Mookerjee, the prime mover in creating this 
new party, was a somewhat chastened militant Hindu — no ' wild- 
eyed fanatic' as one writer has put it. He insisted on open mem- 
bership for the party, by contrast with the Mahasabha, and 
he seemed personally to have been 'a constitutionalist and a 
parliamentarian \ 26 


Indian Right Wing: Political Parties 

It is important to stress, moreover, that Mookerjee, prior to the 
formation of the Sangh was urged to, and did, join the Congress 
Cabinet in order to strengthen the right wing of the party, sym- 
bolized by Sardar Patel. Only after holding a Cabinet post for 
some time did he resign in protest over the government's policy 
toward Pakistan and join with some RSS associates to form the 

It is also important to stress that Mookerjee was adamant in 
insisting that the new party have open membership, i.e. that 
Muslims be admitted. This represents a step forward in the 
direction of secularism and national citizenship and in this sense it 
represents an important advance over the explicit communalism of 
the Hindu Mahasabha. But neither this, nor the occasional non- 
Hindu candidates put up, nor the prohibition against holding 
office simultaneously in the Sangh and the RSS has been able to 
remove the stigma of communalism from the Sangh. Ties with the 
RSS are very close; the Sangh's English-language weekly, The 
Organiser, regularly abuses Muslims for their allegedly anti- 
national proclivities; and Tinker, a reasonably sympathetic 
observer, summarily disposes of the Sangh's Muslims as * Uncle 
Toms \ 27 For these and other reasons, one is justified in considering 
the Sangh a militant Hindu party. 

The Sangh, like the Mahasabha, places great emphasis on 
national unity and strength, opposing all disintegrative tendencies 
at home and insisting on military, and hence industrial strength in 
the international community. Support for Hinduism as a cohesive 
force, support for Hindi as a common language for all Indians, 
and kindred measures bulk large in the Sangh programme. Thus, 
the secessionist agitation of the Dravida Munnetra Kazagham 
(DMK) in Madras and the demand for a separate Punjabi-speaking 
state by the Akali Sikhs (the Punjabi suba demand) are anathema, 
as are disturbances in the tribal regions of the Indo-Burman 
frontier. Illustrative of the party's perspectives is the assertion that 

India is one and an indivisible whole . . . This conviction is a cardinal 
principle of the Jana Sangh. . .The federal character of the constitution 
is exotic and does not symbolize unified nationhood. There should be 
a unitary centre with. . .decentralization. . .The Jana Sangh stands for 
modernizing and augmenting the defence potential of the country. 
'Militarize the Nation' and 'Modernize the Military' should be our 
motto. 28 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

Similarly, it was considered deplorable that ' after 14 years of 
freedom our boys and girls continue to be fashioned into Macau- 
lay's mould' rather than in a way consonant with the genius of 
India herself. 29 Obviously a united, militarized nation, animated 
by specifically Indian symbols, is the central concern. 

Economic issues have generally been understated in the Jan 
Sangh programme, but over the years there has been increasing 
attention to this subject, in part reflecting the party's desire to 
present a well-rounded alternative to the ruling party. On the 
whole, the party's approach has been an eclectic one: it has re- 
commended a mixture of large-, medium- and small-scale enter- 
prises, and a mixture of public and private enterprise, with the 
public sector controlling the 'commanding heights' of the 
economy. By contrast with the so-called Gandhians, however, the 
Sangh in 1962 declared itself in favour of 'a time limit within 
which the [khadi] industry will be required to become self- 
sufficient', because 'in spite of heavy subventions it has not yet 
become economic'. 30 Quite naturally there is an emphasis on self- 
sufficiency, on ' made in India ', and on the Indianization of foreign- 
dominated firms. 

The party's position on private property, especially on large- 
scale corporate holdings, remains somewhat ambiguous. It pro- 
fesses to favour a mixed economy in which key industries will be 
nationalized, a view which might be inspired by a number of 
factors. It might reflect a genuine commitment to the principle 
or the practicality of state-owned key industries. This would seem 
plausible in terms of the desire for national unity, because it would 
permit a greater disciplining of the national economy. It might 
reflect the impact of socialist rhetoric, which is well-nigh ines- 
capable in India, to which the lip-service (at least) which almost 
every party pays to 'socialism' attests. Or it might reflect the pre- 
dominantly lower middle-class base of support for the party, 
which would be more solicitous of smaller property holders as 
opposed to the corporate giants. 31 The last view gains credence 
from the Sangh's stand on some agricultural questions, particularly 
its willingness to attack large landholders while defending the more 
modest cultivators. While the issue is by no means clear, and while 
Sangh leaders are by no means committed to one single position 
here, it would appear that on balance large-scale property in 
industry and land receives no principled endorsement and that 


Indian Right Wing: Political Parties 

the Sangh would not be averse to attacking it. In short, there is at 
least a strand of petit bourgeois 'national-socialism' evident here. 

Finally, the Jan Sangh, like the Mahasabha, is constantly pre- 
occupied with foreign policy, particularly relations with Pakistan. 32 
However, in recent years the Peoples' Republic of China has bulked 
larger in Sangh thinking. The ultimate reunification of the sub- 
continent is a professed goal, as it is for the Mahasabha, but here, 
too, there is a difference in emphasis which deserves note : for the 
Sangh, the goal is 'Akhand Bharat\ while for the Mahasabha it is 
'Akhand Hindustan'. The Sangh's views on relations with China 
indicate that the party cannot be accused of timidity: ' Jana Sangh 
is confident that our armed forces are quite competent to turn the 
Chinese out. The Government apprehension of a world war, if 
there happens to be an armed conflict in Ladakh, is nothing but an 
aberration of a weak mind.' 33 The Chinese invasion also propelled 
the Sangh into a leading position among those who favour the 
development of an Indian nuclear arsenal. On a more modest level, 
the goal of absorption of all French and Portuguese enclaves in 
India was always a major tenet of the party, which also concerns 
itself widely with all Indians overseas, especially those in Africa, 
Ceylon and Burma. 

To sum up, the Jan Sangh is the principal political vehicle for 
the militant Hindu or right radical element in Indian politics. 
Many of its leaders are, indeed, no ' wild-eyed fanatics ' and hope to 
temper the overall belligerence of the party. However, its emphasis 
on a centralized, militarized and now nuclear state, its rather 
aggressive foreign policy statements, and its close ties with the 
RSS, for the moment preclude a shedding of the * pro to-fascist ' 
brush with which the party has generally been tarred. With 
respect to the development of a cohesive, right-wing opposition, 
the emphasis on discipline and militancy has alienated many of 
the aristocratic elements, who appreciate neither quality, and 
its communal tendencies have alienated more. In general, the 
Sangh's * Hindu-Hindi' emphasis severely impairs its aggregative 
capacity. 34 

In the 195 1-2 and 1957 elections, the overall performance of 
these five parties was decidedly poor, especially in voting for the 
Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian national Parliament. 35 
This was not substantially offset by improvement in the position of 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

the Jan Sangh, by the strong showing of the Ganatantra Parishad 
in Orissa, and by the combined rightist groups in Rajasthan, 
primarily RRP and independents. If all of the diverse rightist 
elements be considered together, they amassed upwards of 25 per 
cent of the popular vote for and seats in the Lok Sabha — by no 
means a sign of eclipse. It was abundantly clear, however, that to 
do battle with the Congress, more co-ordinated action was an 
absolute niinimum. An awareness of this obvious fact impelled 
some leaders to seek greater unity, at all levels. 

At the parliamentary level the most notable effort was under- 
taken by Mookerjee shortly after the elections of 195 1-2. In order 
to co-ordinate the work of the 'democratic 5 opposition and to 
build toward the fifty-man group required for official recognition 
as the opposition party, Mookerjee approached virtually every 
non-communist, non-socialist, and non-Muslim opposition 
group in the Lok Sabha, in order to establish a legislative 'front'. 
The result was the formation of the strictly parliamentary ' National 
Democratic Party', which included members of the Sangh, 
Mahasabha, RRP, Ganatantra Parishad, Akali Dal (a party com- 
prised primarily of conservative Sikhs, confined to the Punjab), 
Commonweal and Tamilnad Toilers' parties (both lower middle 
caste Madras parties), and some independents. 36 

Mookerjee's death in 1953 removed the leader of this unity 
effort and the group collapsed within one year, but to put the 
burden of the collapse entirely on the death of Mookerjee is 
quite unwarranted. Internal strains became evident very quickly, 
as Dr A. Krishnaswamy, 'one of Tamilnad's wealthy Mudaliars' 
(a principal trading-financial caste) resigned from the group because 
of the emphasis on Hindi as the national language, favoured by the 
Sangh-Mahasabha axis. 37 Similarly the alinement of the Akalis 
with this group was a very shaky marriage of convenience, because 
the demand for a separate Punjabi-speaking state was totally 
unacceptable to the Sangh-Mahasabha forces, and this was the 
issue for the Akalis. Without underestimating the creative role of 
leadership in such a context, it is evident that there were very 
substantial cleavages which even a man of Mookerjee's admitted 
abilities could have overcome only with the greatest difficulty. 

Differences separating the Sangh, Mahasabha and RRP also 
existed, and these are well illustrated by the extra-parliamentary 
merger talks. The latter did not include any south Indian elements, 


Indian Right Wing: Political Parties 

who by no stretch of the imagination would have rallied to the 
standard of a group dominated by pro-Hindi forces. Nor did they 
include the Akali Dal, for reasons already given. The talks did, 
however, include the Sangh, Mahasabha and RRP, and, at 
one stage, the Ganatantra Parishad, which, according to one 
source, had the 'full sympathies' of the Sangh in Orissa. 38 What 
became clear is that each wanted merger essentially on its own 

Difficulties in Kashmir provided a strong impulse for these 
parties to co-operate, and it was in this context that the merger 
talks were undertaken. N. C. Chatter jee, speaking for the Maha- 
sabha, further insisted that in his party at least there was rank-and- 
file sentiment for merger. But Swami Karapatri (RRP) under- 
scored his party's determination to sustain the village order by 
refusing to yield significantly on matters of religion and social 
policy, in the face of the right radical, reformist demands of the 
Mahasabha and, more importantly, of the Sangh. Also, Savarkar 
and other Mahasabhites underscored their party's firm com- 
munal commitment by rejecting the Sangh's insistence on admis- 
sion of Muslims and other non-Hindus. Chatterjee, who favoured 
a united 'Hindu' party devoid of Muslims, seemed genuinely 
willing to contemplate the demise of the Mahasabha, but other 
Mahasabha leaders, such as Deshpande, wanted only a 'united 
front' and electoral alliances, not an outright merger. 

Further complicating the process was the persistent aggressive- 
ness of the Jan Sangh, even after Mookerjee's death when Chatter- 
jee insisted on sustaining the talks. The Sangh, considering itself 
a young, dynamic party, termed the Mahasabha a 'communal 
body ' and censured it because it ' welcomed princes, zamindars and 
vested interests in its midst'. 39 The latter charge was energetically 
denied by Deshpande and others, but this is not the important 
point. What is crucial is the Sangh's effort to project itself as a 
non-communal party of the common man and to disclaim any 
connection with leading aristocratic or capitalist elements. The 
Sangh charge, in short, suggests something about the social 
composition and 'style' of the party, to which we referred above. 
In any event, amidst repeated charges by the Sangh that the 
Mahasabha was reactionary and dead politically, and demands that 
merger be on Sangh terms in all important respects and with full 
acceptance of Sangh discipline, the negotiations broke down — 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

even though to the end, Chatterjee seemed anxious to find some 
common ground with the Sangh. 40 

It is Weiner's contention that there was very little genuine 
feeling that unity was desirable, apart from leaders such as 
Mookerjee and Chatterjee. There were, of course, some pro- 
grammatic differences and the dispute over membership provi- 
sions, but Weiner chooses to understate these in favour of a social- 
psychological explanation for failure of the talks: that because 
Indian social structure has traditionally been based on small, 
compact groups, many Indians who are loosened from their 
traditional moorings turn toward small, compact political groups 
as a substitute. This, he suggests, helps to explain the reluctance 
of much of the membership of the several parties to submerge its 
identity in a broad, more disciplined party, as would have been 
the case in a Sangh-dominated 'Hindu' party. 

However insightful this hypothesis may seem, it must be 
approached with caution. First of all, it is too much 'inward- 
looking' in the sense that it disregards the environmental factors 
which play a part in party realinements. The Congress, after all, 
was a national party comprised of highly disparate groups which 
were willing to submerge their local identities at least partially. A 
consideration of the factors which enabled the Congress to 
overcome parochialism would be pertinent for an understanding 
of the right-wing unity efforts and would force us to look beyond 
the ' inner psyches ' of the individual parties. 

Moreover, there would seem to be a simpler explanation for the 
failure of merger talks even if we do not look beyond the discussants 
themselves. There are, after all, many local politicians with 
essentially local ambitions and constituencies who simply could 
not survive in a larger arena. Such people would for reasons of 
prestige and individual self-interest, if not for personal power, 
oppose amalgamation of smaller groups into one large one. They 
could hope to dominate the former, not the latter. It is important 
to have some feeling for these different explanations for the failure 
of right-wing unity efforts, because they have a bearing on the 
Swatantra Party. Be that as it may, the obvious fact is for the present 
the important one: even though a serious effort toward unity was 
made, the right wing remained highly fragmented, even in the face 
of electoral reverses and a seemingly unpromising future. 41 

Thus, although negotiations continued until 1956, no mergers 


Indian Right-Wing: Political Parties 

and no significant 'united front 5 activity came to pass, even among 
the Sangh, Mahasabha and RRP. By and large, the Ganatantra 
Parishad remained aloof, as did the Janata Party, the Akali Dal, 
and other local groups, particularly south Indian conservative 
interests. Leaders of many of these groups did, however, profess 
to desire the creation of a significant, all- India opposition party, 
if the proper leadership, programme and financing could be 
secured. 42 

Paralleling the efforts — and reflecting the difficulties — at the 
national level were efforts and difficulties at the state level. In 
Rajasthan, which will suffice for an example here, the RRP, Jan 
Sangh and some independents constituted themselves as a united 
front in the assembly, only to fall apart after a short time. The 
proximate cause seems to have been the * Pant Award ', a judgment 
on smaller jagirdari holdings which was deemed to affect adversely 
the Bhoomias, or lesser Rajputs, for whom the Sangh claimed to 
speak, and for whom the big jagirdars, primarily independents 
and RRP-men, displayed little concern. Still, they zoere united for a 
time and they doubtless would have held together somewhat better 
had the leader of the front, the Maharaja of Jodhpur, not died 
shortly after the elections of 195 1-2. As in the case of Mookerjee, 
one should not expect miracles from a leader, but leadership 
remains one of the critical problems in all merger and united front 
activity. 43 

On a more modest scale, there were also successes and failures, 
as the right-wing parties groped toward a more coherent effort 
against the Congress. There were, for example, many local 'non- 
aggression 5 pacts, through which parties agreed to defer to one 
another on a reciprocal basis, to avoid multi-cornered fights which 
would include more than one rightist candidate. But quite common 
also were some very fierce battles among the rightist parties, which 
only serve to underscore the point that much remained to be done 
if the Congress were to be challenged effectively. 44 

To speak of challenging the Congress is, however, misleading to 
the extent that the ruling party itself contained many elements in- 
distinguishable from those just discussed. For a long time, for 
example, dual membership in the Congress and the Mahasabha 
was permitted, and when this was no longer possible, many 
Mahasabhites-cum-Congressmen remained with the Congress. 
We have seen that, for a time, Mookerjee was in a Congress 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

ministry, where it was hoped he would strengthen the right-wing 
elements. More importantly, throughout the history of the Con- 
gress, defections have occurred primarily on the left flank, suggest- 
ing the weight of a well-entrenched right wing in the nationalist 
movement. Both prior to and after independence the impact of the 
right wing on personnel and policy decisions has been evident, and 
this point has been sufficiently well documented in many standard 
sources. Brecher is particularly effective on this point, and there 
is a useful case study of the Hindu Code bills which bears on the 
same issue. Here it will suffice to cite Tinker's account of one 
battle between secularist reformers and some right-wing elements 
in the Congress : 

Nehru, Krishna Menon, and other spokesmen of the 'secular' school 
of politics have so frequently argued that the Hindu communal parties 
have failed to gain a footing, that the argument has been widely accepted. 
Yet, over the central features of Nehru's secular programme, the Hindu 
Code Bill, the communalists have to a large extent had their own way. 
The Hindu Code Bill was first introduced by Nehru in 1950 as a com- 
prehensive measure to reform the whole structure of Hindu marriage, 
divorce, inheritance rights and adoption custom. The bill met with 
widespread opposition, in and out of Parliament. In October 195 1, 
President Prasad threatened to use his power of veto, unless the measure 
was withdrawn. The bill was delayed, and its provisions whittled away. 
At last in 1955, a major part of the code was placed on the statute books 
as the Hindu Marriages Law. The ranks of the Congress parliamentary 
party contained few prepared to support the measure, and many who 
spoke against it: but when the vote was taken, the party whip was 
obeyed. As a demonstration of the secular spirit, all this was not very 
impressive. 45 

Comparable cases could be cited from the areas of economic policy, 
land reform, harijan 'uplift', and the like, to indicate the impact of 
the right-wing elements who are often obscured behind the socialist 
facade of the Congress. It is quite remarkable that after so com- 
menting on the Hindu Code Bill, Tinker could go on to argue that 
the right wing was weak in India, supporting his argument by 
reference to non- Congress opposition parties. 46 The 'sad' per- 
formance of right-wing parties to which he referred, and the 
'almost total eclipse of our so-called rightist parties' to which 
another writer pointed, become less surprising if one appreciates 
the very substantial strength of certain right-wing groups in the 


Indian Right Wing: Political Parties 

Congress itself, coupled with the other factors examined above. 
The extremes of militant Hinduism, of aristocratic conservatism, 
and of reaction were doubtless not particularly potent, but non- 
aristocratic conservatism, including the * disguised' conservatism 
of the idealized village, certainly was strong. Put in admittedly 
exaggerated form, we may ask those who emphasize the weakness 
of the Indian right, { how many conservative parties does India 
need?' The contemporary Congress is quite enough to satisfy a 
good many conservatives, and some of those whom it did not 
satisfy still remained in the party, paying lip service to socialism 
and boring from within, because of Nehru's commitment to 
socialist positions and because of the apparent futility of righting 
him openly. 

None the less, there was no opposition party which seemed 
likely to fulfil the function of an open, explicitly conservative 
force, to speak for those who were offended and who could not be 
content with silence or with boring from within. The Jan Sangh 
impressed some observers as moving in this direction, i.e. of 
'responsible conservatism', but on balance it had a less sanguine 
image which seemed to preclude effective aggregation of some key 
elements, notably conservatives (as opposed to right radicals), and 
the non-Hindu, non-Hindi speaking groups. 47 It is clear also that 
urban business interests were poorly represented by the available 
opposition parties, and even the Jan Sangh, with its right radical 
style, gave many big businessmen a few anxious moments. 

Although the right side of the political spectrum was by no 
means unpopulated, and although the record of the years 1947-59 
could scarcely be encouraging to any new entrant into the political 
fray, the Swatantra Party entered the arena in mid-1959, as the 
self-appointed non-leftist alternative to the Congress. Its arrival 
might have been expected only to fragment further the opposition 
forces. As Humayun Kabir put the matter, Swatantra was 'at a 
disadvantage because of its late appearance. As the latest comer in 
the field, it has to establish its claim against all existing parties.' 48 
Admitting this, it was still by no means foreordained that Swatan- 
tra would only further complicate matters. Both the context and 
the nature of Swatantra itself held some promise. 

With respect to the context, it might have been tempting to 
assert that India's social diversity, various legacies of the colonial 
situation, and the rise of the Congress would combine to prevent 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

a more * rational' alinement of political forces in India. This argu- 
ment has considerable merit and it has been freely employed in the 
preceding pages. But it must also be recognized that many power- 
ful and effective political groupings, among which one must count 
the Congress itself, have been comprised of very heterogeneous 
materials; and it must also be acknowledged that basic realinements 
of political forces have occurred in many countries where they 
might have seemed improbable. If Gandhi could create a Congress 
in which widely disparate elements existed cheek-by-jowl for the 
purpose of ousting the British, could not another leader also build a 
broad coalition, given a certain objective situation and percep- 
tions about it? Could not a serious famine in the present context 
precipitate a political emergency and new political alinements? 
Could not an international crisis do much to restructure political 
life in India? Could not a strong, frontal attack on a wide range of 
long-standing customs and beliefs and institutions work in the 
same direction? To ask these questions is not to answer them, but 
neither does a catalogue of historic political fragmentation by itself 
preclude future political cohesion. 

With respect to the Swatantra Party itself, as a potential vehicle 
for a more formidable conservative effort, there were some grounds 
for modest optimism. It came into being as a result of a series of 
policies of the Congress, culminating in the 'Nagpur Resolution' 
on * joint co-operative farming', and the party self-consciously set 
out to exploit the alleged menace of collectivization of agriculture, 
while at the same time relating this specific issue to a broader 
pattern of ' statism' which it felt prevailed. It had a number of very 
distinguished leaders, including some from the south of India, 
where the major right-wing parties received negligible support. 
Its leaders, moreover, included some veteran Congressmen of 
great stature, who were thus more likely to appeal to right-wing 
Congressmen than were the other opposition parties. Furthermore, 
Swatantra was not, on the surface at least, committed either to 
militant Hinduism or to reaction, which gave it a more 'respect- 
able' image in these respects than the Jan Sangh and the RRP. 
Most important, perhaps, was Swatantra's explicit determination 
to set forth a minimum programme on the basis of which it would 
hope to create a cohesive, non-communist alternative to the Con- 
gress. These and other factors seemed to augur well for Swatantra, 
although everyone knew that its task would not be easy. 


Indian Right Wing: Political Parties 

The stage may be set for the following analysis by indicating 
briefly, by way of anticipation, some general but basic points. In 
the elections of 1962, the Swatantra Party established itself as a 
significant, if highly controversial political force. Founded only in 
mid- 1 959, it must be credited with a strong showing by con- 
temporary Indian standards for the performance of opposition 
parties. Polling about 8 per cent of the popular vote, it secured the 
third largest contingent in the Lok Sabha and the second largest 
total of state assembly seats. It secured the position of principal 
opposition party in the states of Bihar, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and 
Orissa; and after the split in the Communist Party of India (CPI) 
in 1965, it became the principal opposition in the Lok Sabha as 

From the outset, the nature and role of the party have been 
hotly disputed subjects. It has been described as a party of 
' conservative rich peasants in the South, a few finance capitalists 
in the West, some Bihar and U.P. feudal atavisms, and communalist 
chiefs in the North'. 49 It was condemned by the CPI as one of the 
'forces of dark, right reaction' 50 and by Nehru as belonging to 'the 
middle ages of lords, castles and zamindars' and as becoming 
'more and more Fascist in outlook'. 51 One American scholar 
labelled it 'a communal conservative party', 52 while a British 
observer concluded that ' the victory of this party could be an un- 
mitigated disaster for India. . . '. 53 

By contrast, its supporters see it as ' a progressive liberal party' 54 
which will 'slow down the Congress steamroller' by providing a 
non-communist, non-socialist, secular and constitutionalist 
alternative to the ruling party. 55 The reaction of the Indian press 
was, at the outset, guardedly optimistic along these lines, 56 while 
the American magazine Life almost surpassed Swatantra Party 
literature itself when it contended that ' the Swatantra program 
could really get that huge country moving in a direction favorable 
to free institutions. The free world can wish this little party a 
big future.' 57 

It is tempting to conclude that these divergent estimates derive 
from different perspectives on key Indian problems, as polarized 
by the heat of political battle. This is to some extent true. In 
addition, however, the cleavage in critical opinion reflects the fact 
that Swatantra is in some fundamental ways an enigma, one im- 
portant aspect of which is the diversity of social forces within 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

Swatantra and the balance of power among them. By probing in 
detail the nature of this enigma and this special aspect of it, we 
shall not only understand this intrinsically important political 
party, but through it we shall also gain insights into the problems 
and prospects of political conservatism (and of the right more 
generally) in India. 




The formal decision to establish the Swatantra Party was made 
public in Madras on 4 June 1959. Only in the narrowest sense, 
however, does this tell us anything about its birth. The date of 
conception is uncertain, although the period of gestation is known 
to have been long. Paternity is difficult to specify. And the new 
party was on the verge of entering the political world earlier, in 
Bangalore, if not elsewhere. The date, 4 June 1959, is significant 
primarily because it post-dates the Nagpur Resolution, and Madras 
is important primarily because it suggests a south Indian origin. 

Commenting on the birth of Swatantra, one writer has argued 
that 'in one sense this was not the emergence of a new political 
force, but only the regrouping of the conservative elements in 
Indian society which were making themselves felt in the working of 
other parties earlier 5 . 1 Although there is more than a grain of 
truth in this contention, it is necessary to go beyond it, for the 
following reasons: as it stands, the statement is both incomplete 
and inadequate because it fails to indicate that some previously 
latent elements were mobilized and because it fails to specify 
precisely what forces were regrouped and on what basis. Swatantra 
to be sure represented a confluence of many diverse social forces 
and personalities, animated at the doctrinal level by one general and 
one specific problem (' statism ' and the Nagpur Resolution respec- 
tively), and dominated by one towering figure, Rajaji. But as the 
preceding analysis has suggested, it is essential to understand the 
nature of the forces involved and the basis on which they came 
together, including the impact of the objective situation and sub- 
jective perceptions of it, the nature and role of leadership, the 
doctrinal stance, relations with other parties, and so on, if we are 
to understand properly the nature and significance of Swatantra. 

Of the more formally organized social forces which helped to 
generate the Swatantra Party, two stand out, although neither 
stands in the front rank of organized interest groups in India: the 
Forum of Free Enterprise (FFE) and the All-India Agriculturalists' 
Federation (AIAF), founded in 1956 and 1958, respectively. 
Concerning them, three general points are in order. First, each 

5 65 ESP 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

took a decisive stand against government controls, taxation, and 
general economic policy, in the area of industry and agriculture 
respectively. Secondly, Swatantra leaders are quite willing to 
acknowledge their debts to both, as Rajaji did at one juncture: 'I 
shall be failing in my duty if I do not say how grateful we are to the 
Agricultural Federation of India for the inspiration they gave us 
for the formation of this Party and to the Forum of Free Enter- 
prise that helped us so greatly in the preliminary work.' 2 Thirdly, 
because it grossly underestimates the original and enduring con- 
tribution of the FFE, Rajaji's statement reflects the determination 
of the leadership to identify the party with the agricultural rather 
than the industrial sector. For the moment, however, it is import- 
ant simply to stress the party's debt to the most aggressively 'free 
enterprise' segments of the business and agricultural communities. 
The FFE was founded by a group of businessmen in Bombay, 
notably the late A. D. Shroff of Tatas and Murarji Vaidya of the 
Indian Rayon Corporation and the All-India Manufacturers' 
Association. They were brought together in this venture by a 
prominent one-time Tata official, M. R. Masani, a veteran anti- 
communist (and more recently anti-socialist) ideologian and severe 
critic of the Nehru government. 3 Ultimately expanding to include 
centres in many cities in addition to its home office in Bombay, the 
Forum, by and large, was scrupulously careful not to carry on a 
vendetta against Nehru or the Congress, and it never identified it- 
self with any political party, for obvious reasons. 4 Thus, the Forum 
explicitly claimed that it was 'a non-political and non-partisan 
organization' which would 'disseminate authoritative information 
to educate public opinion ... [and] bring to public notice the 
achievements of Free Enterprise in this country and the manner 
in which it can make its contribution to the economic development 
of India in order to raise the standard of living'. 5 It contended that 
'today the case for Free Enterprise is going by default', and to the 
end of 'educating the educated' about the relationship which it 
felt existed between free enterprise and economic development and 
politics, it organized meetings of various types and distributed 
literature, the latter often of a second-hand sort. 6 

In addition to arguing that the organization was non-partisan, 
the FFE also took pains to insist that it did not stand for laissez 
faire. According to one leader, 'we consider that "Laissez 
Faire" or Nineteenth Century Capitalism has no place in con- 


The Birth of a Party 

temporary Indian life' and that these systems 'are as dead as the 
dodo and can make no contribution to the industrial, social and 
economic advancement we seek'. 7 None the less, the leaders and 
spokesmen of the FFE did seek to expand the sphere in which 
private enterprise would be secure and they also sought to artic- 
ulate in reasonably coherent fashion the accumulated grievances of 
the business communities. In particular, they hammered at the 
theme that a largely free enterprise economy was necessary both for 
rapid economic growth and for the maintenance of political 
democracy. They warned, sometimes guardedly, sometimes vigor- 
ously and stridently, that wide government controls, heavy taxation, 
and a large public sector not only destroyed economic initiative 
but led ultimately down the familiar road of Friedrich Hayek. 8 

Thus, the Forum— its non-partisan protestations notwith- 
standing—necessarily took on an anti-Congress image, because if 
there was a danger of statism in India, it could have emanated only 
from the Congress or some segment of it. Moreover, some of those 
who were associated with the activities of the Forum either 
adverted to or explicitly discussed the need for the formation of a 
new, anti-statist opposition party, although on every occasion the 
FFE entered a familiar disclaimer, viz. that the views expressed 
were not necessarily those of the FFE. 

One of the foremost of those who stressed the need for a new 
party was Masani, whose advocacy well ante-dated the Nagpur 
Resolution. At one stage he referred to the ' dangerous polarization ' 
of Indian political life, between the Congress, not yet viewed as a 
menace, and the CPI. 9 He deplored the fact that 'consistent ideo- 
logical opposition to communism has hitherto been negligible'. 10 
Moreover, he questioned the judgment of Rajaji, one of India's 
most determined anti-communists, that as of the mid-1950s the 
CPI was losing ground. By contrast, Masani insisted that there was 
a threat of paralysis of the will in confronting communism and he 
argued that 'only purposeful democratic leadership that arouses 
the country to the internal and external dangers with which it is 
faced can immunize India from this threat'. 11 At this juncture, 
Masani pointed to the anti-communist role of the Indian Com- 
mittee for Cultural Freedom (1951), with which he was closely 
associated, and to the Democratic Research Service in Bombay, 
which was c somewhat more polemical ' in its anti-communism and 
with which Masani has also been involved. 12 



The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

Through such channels Masani attempted to build up anti- 
communist sentiment in the country, and at least as early as his 
election campaign of 1957, he stressed the need to forge a non- 
communist alternative to the Congress. As was suggested in his 
book on the communists in India, Masani at this time defended 
the declared need for an opposition of this type not because the 
Congress itself was being communized but because people who 
objected to the Congress had nowhere else to go, in his view, but 
to the CPI. According to Ramgarh, sometime Janata Party leader 
and Swatantra stalwart, Masani had broached the idea of a more 
coherent, non-communist opposition to him at an * all-parties ' 
conference shortly after the 1957 elections, in which Masani was 
returned to the Lok Sabha from a district adjacent to Ramgarh's 
own stronghold. 13 In the early months of 1959, however, the 
tempo of Masani' s efforts increased and, concomitantly, he insisted 
that the Nehru government itself was heading toward communism. 
Thus, Masani termed the Nagpur Resolution an ' insidious attempt 
to bring in Collective Farming of the Communist pattern by the 
back door', a view which was echoed throughout India by those 
who now lead the Swatantra Party. 14 As a consequence, he came to 
insist more forcibly that a ' middle of the road' party be founded. 15 
In the early 1950s Masani had praised Rajaji, 'to whom, above all, 
credit goes for having protected southern India from Communist 
rule after the last [195 1-2] General Elections', and it was perhaps 
only natural that Masani look again to this most respected of 
Indian elder statesmen for leadership of an anti-communist 
movement. 16 

Among those who responded favourably to the efforts of the 
FFE and of Masani was Rajaji. But pressure from Masani in 1957 
and 1958 found Rajaji unrelenting on the question of his own 
personal involvement in an anti-Congress movement. Vaidya, a 
founder-leader of the FFE, went to Madras in 1958, met Rajaji, 
and was asked what the Forum proposed to do when and if it 
succeeded in 'educating the educated' to the menace of statism 
and to the virtues of free enterprise. Vaidya insisted that he and his 
colleagues were writing as businessmen and economists and that 
authentic political leaders would have to come forth to challenge 
statism politically and to channel the efforts of the Forum's 
supporters in that direction. Here, as in his dealings with Masani 
and others, Rajaji insisted that he was too old (over eighty), too 


The Birth of a Party 

long a Congressman, and too close to Nehru personally to consider 
a re-entry into politics on an active, organized basis. 17 

Against this backdrop, the Nagpur Resolution came as some- 
thing of a god-send to spokesmen for and supporters of the FFE 
who were anxious to develop an anti-Congress, anti-communist 
party. Having been labelled as apostles of 'reactionary 5 laissez 
faire capitalism (a charge which was vehemently denied), the 
leaders of the FFE could exploit the more ominous implications 
of 'joint co-operative farming', and could identify themselves 
with free enterprise in agriculture, thus linking themselves with 
men of property in the countryside. 

In the early months of 1959 the Forum sponsored many meet- 
ings in which the Nagpur Resolution was the main topic. Other 
groups were doing the same on a reasonably wide scale, and Rajaji 
became more and more involved with these in the south, partic- 
ularly in Bangalore. Anti-Congress efforts were gaining some 
momentum, and on 29 May 1959, the FFE sponsored a meeting 
in Bangalore with Rajaji in the chair and Masani as first speaker, 
and although it was a Forum-sponsored meeting, it was concerned 
almost exclusively with the Nagpur Resolution. Masani, who 
termed the atmosphere 'electric', launched into a vehement de- 
nunciation of the Congress, after which Rajaji spoke even more 
vehemently, complaining that Masani had been too restrained. 
Rajaji, Masani, and others decided at Bangalore to form a new 
party, continuing a process which had started long before, but in 
part because the Bangalore meeting was Forum-sponsored, it was 
decided to postpone the public announcement about the new 
party until a later date. 18 That date proved to be 4 June 1959, for 
which the AIAF had scheduled a meeting in Madras and to which 
most of the participants in the FFE-sponsored Bangalore meeting 
were going. Thus the birth of Swatantra was announced at an 
AIAF meeting, but the role of the Foum and its adherents was so 
obvious that 'some people say the party is, in fact, the Forum's 
political arm'. 19 Yet it is important to note that there was much 
reluctance to have Swatantra too closely and too openly identified 
with the FFE, both because of dangers to business interests and to 
the party. 20 

The AIAF, founded in Bangalore in 1958, was, from all available 
indications, a group of very modest dimensions and impact. How- 
ever, it numbered among its leaders N. G. Ranga, a veteran peasant 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

leader, and its President in mid- 1959 was Sardar Bahadur Lai 
Singh (now deceased), an agricultural economist and sometime 
adviser to the national Planning Commission— a fact which did not 
escape attention when Swatantra was founded at a meeting spon- 
sored by the AIAF. 21 The group was very heavily south Indian in 
leadership and membership, and while it claims to be a 'peasant' 
organization and while upon occasion it may speak convincingly for 
cultivators generally, it is dominated by kulaks and by other larger 
landholders. 22 

The activities of the AIAF paralleled in many respects those of 
the FFE. The Federation organized meetings, distributed litera- 
ture, and, in a few, isolated cases, local units ostensibly set up 
candidates for public office. 23 Further paralleling the FFE's efforts, 
the AIAF severely criticized the government's agricultural policy. 
The AIAF stood four-square behind the more prosperous land- 
holder, by taking exception to some government tenancy legisla- 
tion, by insisting that the goal of individual peasant proprietorship 
was not only Utopian but unnecessary, by adamantly opposing 
land ceiling legislation, and, finally, by denouncing 'joint co- 
operative farming' in Masani-like fashion. All of these moves were 
held to destroy initiative and productivity among those most 
capable of increasing India's agricultural production, i.e. those 
presently in possession of larger holdings and those who had 
historically been tillers of the soil. 24 At a number of junctures, 
again primarily in Bangalore, Rajaji had met with AIAF leaders 
and other kindred spirits to discuss the Nagpur Resolution and 
possible counter-moves; and there is little doubt that Rajaji 
personally had greater sympathy for the AIAF than he did for the 
FFE. It was for this reason, as well as for the more practical one 
already mentioned, that the announcement of Swatantra's entry 
into the lists was deferred until the AIAF meeting in Madras. 

The determination of the founders of Swatantra to identify the 
party with the rural sector is widely evident and played an im- 
portant part in the selection of former kisan sabha leader Ranga as 
party President. Thus, even Masani, through whose initiative, in 
large part, the FFE took shape and whose own identification is 
with modern, urban interests, has emphasized that 'it is not an 
accident that the move for the establishment of the Swatantra 
Party should have taken place at a meeting convened ... by the 
All-India Agriculturalists' Federation and that Professor Ranga 


The Birth of a Party 

should be nominated as its leader. This is as it should be. India is, 
and will remain, for many generations to come, a peasant country.' 25 
Without any intention to impugn the sincerity of Rajaji and Masani, 
it is none the less clear that the role of the AIAF has been em- 
phasized and that of the FFE understated for practical reasons. 
Assertions such as Masani's — necessary because business sponsor- 
ship would have been a liability — cannot deflect attention from 
Swatantra's debt to the FFE. Meanwhile, the AIAF, because of its 
stand on a wide range of land reforms, has been accused of de- 
fending 'feudal landlordism \ 26 It is not easy to estimate accurately 
the relative importance of the Forum and the Federation among 
business and agricultural groups respectively, or in terms of their 
role in the Swatantra Party. It is fairly clear, however, that neither 
group stands in the front rank of interest groups in India, and it is 
beyond dispute that most of the leaders of the two organizations 
are either members of or very sympathetic to the Swatantra Party. 27 
Swatantra's roots in the most aggressively free-enterprise sectors 
of the business community and of the rural propertied class are 
thus abundantly evident. But while it is important to point out 
that this background militates strongly against an image of a 
' common man's ' party, it is equally important to stress three other 
facts. First, both the FFE and AIAF were animated more by 
economic than by religio-cultural issues, and their economic 
arguments were pitched in decidedly modern terms, i.e. efficiency 
and productivity. The contrast between their commitments and 
those of the Gandhians, the aristocratic conservatives, and various 
cultural groups and more religiously oriented parties is obvious 
and important. Secondly, the emphasis of both was on freedom 
from state controls, not on freedom from the constraints of tradi- 
tional Indian society, even though the FFE included many Parsis 
and other modern businessmen and even though the AIAF 
leaders were in many cases opposed to the great landed aristocrats 
of pre-independence days. As Swatantra leaders would subse- 
quently make very explicit, the greatest threat to freedom lay on 
the left, not on the right. Thirdly, it is necessary to emphasize, 
because of later developments, that at this juncture in its history, 
Swatantra did not draw to any significant extent upon the great 
aristocratic classes of north India; and, as we have already sug- 
gested and as we shall see further, most of Swatantra's founding 
fathers were, at least in the past, hostile to the aristocracy. 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

If the success of the new party had depended on the potency of 
the Forum and the Federation alone, it would doubtless never 
have been formed, or, if formed, it would have failed miserably. 
As we have seen, however, there were diverse currents of dis- 
content which could be tapped, and those who eventually brought 
Swatantra into the world were well aware of this fact. And even 
some aristocrats figured into these calculations. The Raja of 
Ramgarh had expressed interest in a new national opposition 
party at a seminar in Bombay, shortly before Swatantra was 
founded. 28 The Maharaja of Kalahandi, a leader of the Ganatantra 
Parishad, had approached Rajaji, as Vaidya had done, well before 
the Nagpur session of the Congress in 1959, to discuss the possi- 
bility of forming a new party. 29 Jankinandan Singh, uncle of the 
then Maharajadhiraj of Darbhanga (formerly premier zamindar in 
Bihar and leader of the Maithil Brahmin community) and a 
member of the Bihar Legislative Council, asked Rajaji in 1957 to 
rally all dissident Congress groups, such as Jankinandan Singh's 
own Jan Congress. 30 Many others of lesser political stature, 
including some (like H. N. Kanoongo, an Orissa lawyer) who 
had not previously been involved in politics, had also turned to 
Rajaji prior to 1959, as the man most likely to provide the requisite 
leadership for the type of opposition party which so many people 
had contemplated. 31 

In addition to the discontent of relatively long standing, there 
was the storm of protest elicited by the Nagpur Resolution. A 
number of distinguished individuals and local groups responded 
with great alarm, conjuring up the image of Soviet-style collectives 
or Chinese communes. Even before the actual passage of the 
Nagpur Resolution, a khan convention, which reportedly included 
many AIAF leaders and about one hundred Congress MPs, was 
held in Delhi, to protest against the proposed resolution. Late in 
January 1959 a Punjab kisan convention was called to protest 
against the Nagpur Resolution, and Ranga, then Secretary of the 
Congress parliamentary party, the late Sardar Udham Singh 
Nagoke, former Akali leader and then a Congress MP, General 
K. M. Cariappa, retired Chief of Staff of the Indian army, and 
the Maharaja of Patiala shared the platform. 32 The Gujarat 
Khedut Sangh, with which Ranga was associated and which 
brought him into close touch with some prominent local leaders, 
was, according to one report, the first organized group to enter its 


The Birth of a Party 

protest against c joint co-operative farming'. 33 For months, Ranga, 
Masani, and others spoke against the Nagpur proposals in various 
parts of India, often at the behest of prominent local leaders and 
groups. 34 

There were, in addition, some veteran Congressmen who joined 
with Ranga, Masani, Nagoke, et al., in what took on many qualities 
of an anti-Congress crusade. K. M. Munshi, a most distinguished 
Bombay Congressman of very long standing, c made a scathing 
criticism of the idea of co-operative farming' in an address to the 
Delhi Historical Society, and S. K. D. Paliwal, an almost equally 
distinguished Congressman from UP, sought to work up a storm of 
local protest. 35 Nagoke and Paliwal were, moreover, attempting to 
organize at least state-wide groups which might better channel the 
opposition to the Nagpur Resolution. 36 Elsewhere, there were 
groups of dissident Congressmen, such as the Indian National 
Democratic Congress in Madras and the Democratic Party in 
Andhra, who had split themselves off from the parent organiza- 
tion, although not necessarily for doctrinal reasons; and these were 
potential recruits. In fact, the Democratic Party, some of whose 
leaders had been with Ranga in the old Krishikar Lok Paksh, had 
asked Rajaji to preside over its inaugural convention. 37 In short, 
anti-Congress sentiment was widespread, and those (like Ram- 
garh) who had been in opposition for a long time were joined by 
those for whom the Nagpur Resolution was the last straw — or who 
at least felt that it provided an opportunity for previously suppres- 
sed opposition to come into the open. These opposition groups were 
obviously fragmented and most of the obstacles previously men- 
tioned worked to keep them apart. But the would-be founders of a 
national opposition to the Congress had much material on which to 
draw, and Ranga among others had had a chance to 'feel out' 
potential recruits in his widespread travels to publicize the alleged 
menace of the Nagpur proposals. If distinguished leadership were 
available, if there were a key issue on which to capitalize, and if 
there were at least a fair prospect of decent financial support, there 
was reason to think that some of the barriers to a cohesive opposi- 
tion might be overcome. 

Those who had looked to Rajaji to assume the leadership of an 
opposition party not only knew that he was one of the most 
distinguished of all Indian statesmen-politicians, but they were 
also encouraged by many of his post-retirement pronouncements 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

about the Indian political scene, particularly about the need to 
combat 'statism'. 38 Typical of his assessment of the political 
situation in the mid-1950s was his short essay, 'Our Democracy', 
in which he argued that 

every change must necessarily produce dislocation, disturbances and 
distress. . .the pain involved ... must be taken into account in any 
orderly advance. A Party on the Right, as it is called, gives expression 
to these distresses and disturbances, which are not less real or important 
than the need for change and progress. 39 

He further insisted that ' since. . .the Congress Party has swung 
to the left, what is wanted is not an ultra or outer-Left [viz. the 
CPI or the Praja Socialist Party, PSP], but a strong and articulate 
Right'. 40 He also added a remark which is crucial in terms of 
the argument about rightist elements in the Congress itself, viz. 
that this opposition must 'operate not privately and behind the 
closed doors of the party meeting, but openly and periodically 
through the electorate'. 41 

While thus tempting anti-Congress forces of conservative 
temper to seek him out, Rajaji at the same time continued to 
enphasize his old age, long service in the Congress, and personal 
attachment to Nehru as the factors which precluded his assump- 
tion of leadership of these forces. The Nagpur Resolution was, 
according to Rajaji himself, the proverbial last straw. 42 Having 
lived four-score-plus years, with the end in sight, he felt that he 
must make one last, if desperate effort, to deflect the Congress 
from the path which it was following. He was, as one foreign 
observer put it, a man with 'a deep moral sense. . .prepared to go 
down fighting in a last crusade'. 43 

When he was finally prevailed upon to come out of retirement, 
Rajaji provided a fillip to many of the disparate rightist forces 
and he provided the much-sought distinguished leadership almost 
single-handed. Kabir overstates the case only slightly when he 
argues that ' the only rallying point of the Swatantra Party is the 
personality of Rajagopalachari', but there can be no doubt that 
Rajaji 'is the stellar attraction' and 'commands wide attention' 
whenever he speaks and acts. 44 Rajaji is thought of 'as a member of 
Gandhi's generation, the liberators, because he was involved in the 
movement from the very start', and 'as Gandhi's old friend and 
lieutenant he has a very special status'. 45 Not without his severe 


The Birth of a Party 

critics, Rajaji has also been termed 'the most astute intellectual 
among the elite of Indian nationalists ', 46 and Nehru wrote of him 
in 1940 that his 'brilliant intellect, selfless character, and penetrat- 
ing powers of analysis have been a tremendous asset to our cause'. 47 
Although Nehru was not so generous in later years, this judgment 
will stand as a suggestion, at least, of the sort of person who became 
the founder-leader of the Swatantra Party. 48 That Rajaji had been 
approached by so many people from all corners of India testifies 
further to the esteem in which he was held and to the importance 
which these appellants attached to leadership of great stature, in 
their efforts to constitute a broad opposition party. 

The Nagpur Resolution specifically, and 'statism' generally, 
provided the key issues which had potential mass appeal, if only 
the peasantry could be convinced that these constituted a 'clear 
and present danger' to their interests. It was argued above that 
one factor in right-wing disunity was the relative moderation 
of the Congress Party, and the resultant feeling that however bad 
things were, they could still get worse, and would get worse if the 
Congress were opposed. Swatantra's task — and hope — was to 
convince the populace that action was necessary then, before it was 
too late. It is also very important to observe, in this regard, that if 
the threat of communism could be satisfactorily communicated, 
it was a potential solvent for the disparate elements and doctrines 
which had previously comprised the disorganized Indian right, 
and it could also hope to appeal to liberal, middle-class groups. It 
could, in short, serve as a rallying point akin to the anti-British 
focus of the nationalist movement, i.e. one which could mobilize 
disparate groups with different positive goals but with a common 
negative goal. This, at least, was a potentiality which was seen to be 
inherent in the Nagpur Resolution. 

Not to be underestimated in all calculations concerning the birth 
of Swatantra was the presence of Masani and the extensive, if 
formally unofficial support of the FFE— and the connection of 
both with the Tata empire, one of the premier industrial-financial 
complexes in India. Although no one expected the keys to vast 
industrial treasuries to be handed over, some support from Tatas 
could easily have been envisaged: Masani had very close ties, and 
Shroff, a founder-leader of the FFE, had for a long time been 
prominent in the organization. The All-India Manufacturers' 
Association, for a time headed by Vaidya and a supporter of the 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

FFE, was also a possible source of financial support, through its 
constituent units. 

Combined, these factors— Rajaji's leadership, exploitable issues, 
and the possibility of funds— provided the basis for very cautious 
optimism, which one more traditionally minded Indian tried to 
reinforce by gratuitously providing a very favourable horoscope 
for the new party. 49 The prospects were far from bright— everyone 
knew that— but to many, particularly those getting on in years, it 
seemed a matter of * now or never ' and the decision to proceed was 

For the most part, there were no illusions concerning the prob- 
lems confronting the new party. This was again particularly true 
among the older men, many of whom linked their own limited days 
with the fate of India and who took up the challenge more with an 
attitude of resignation in a 'last-gasp' effort than with confidence 
in a successful outcome. Rajaji reflected this, for while he was 
convinced that the need for a cohesive opposition was clear, he was 
far less sanguine when it came to the prospects of creating one: 

Although there is today abundant material for a powerful opposition, 
hypnotic fear and the pressure of individual interests operate to pre- 
vent the gathering together of the forces. . .Unless the conservatives 
realize their duty, throw off their dejection, overcome their fears and 
unite to build a worthy opposition, parliamentary democracy in India 
has a dismal future. 50 

Masani, upon whom time weighs less heavily, echoed the same 
sentiments in less despairing terms : 

The Swatantra Party can succeed in giving effective opposition to the 
State Capitalist policies of the present government and in providing the 
country with an alternative government only if it can mobilize a broad 
based coalition [of peasantry and professional men, especially]. The 
middle classes of the cities and towns must join hands with the peasants 
in the villages in defence of their rights and property. If they do not 
hang together, they will assuredly hang separately. 51 

It is pertinent to point out not only that these observations were 
entirely correct, but also that Rajaji, here and elsewhere, explicitly 
referred to the need for a conservative or rightist party, and that 
Masani, here and elsewhere, explicitly referred to the propertied, 
middle-class basis which he envisaged for the Swatantra Party. 
Was such a party likely to be progressive and a defender of the 


The Birth of a Party 

interests of the non-propertied common man? That, and a good 
deal more, remained to be seen. 

There were doubts, too, concerning the leadership. Rajaji, for all 
his undeniable stature and intellect, was not a mesmerizing public 
figure by any means, and Palmer's claim that he was 'the only 
living Indian who has the kind of appeal to the Indian masses — 
combining personal magnetism with a messianic quality— that 
Gandhi had' 52 is unsupportable. More apt is the view that he 
'always seemed unable to sense, still less anticipate, the senti- 
ment and mood of the people . . . [and] was never able to capture 
the imagination of the Indian masses \ 53 Here was a figure, then, 
who was more respected than loved, a man who would get a 
respectful hearing but would arouse few passions. Even with these 
limitations, however, Rajaji provided Swatantra with a figurehead, 
at least, who was undeniably superior to those whom the other 
rightist parties could offer. 

Beyond the problem of Rajaji personally was that of the 'found- 
ing fathers ' as a whole. Among the founders were such people as 
Jinraj Hegde of the AIAF, a landowner and advocate of the 
Mysore High Court, and the late V. P. Menon, the venerable and 
desperately ailing assistant to Patel in the integration of the 
princely states — and these two men were nominated as the 'Joint 
Secretaries' of the party at the Madras meeting. All told, the slate 
of officers nominated did not inspire abundant confidence or 
enthusiasm among many prospective supporters, or, indeed, 
among some of the founders themselves. Notwithstanding the 
presence of some prominent, anti-collectivist Gujaratis and a 
scattering of people from other northern states, the thirty-odd men 
who assembled in Madras were heavily drawn from the south of the 
Vindhyas, and certain early, if tentative decisions reflected this. 
The headquarters of the party were to be in Bangalore, and the 
President (Ranga), the Joint Secretaries (Menon and Hegde), and 
the Treasurer (B. V. Narayana Reddy), were all from the south 
as, of course, was Rajaji himself. 54 

One prominent party man explicitly charged that this group 
was too much 'a southern Brahmin clique'; and another referred 
to it as a group of 'old fogies' who were 'out of touch with 
politics'. 55 Masani was prevented from reaching the Madras 
meeting for its opening session and arrived to find a slate of officers 
and a general atmosphere very far from his liking. It was no sur~ 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

prise, then, that Masani was anxious to * politicize' the leadership 
and to give it wider geographical scope. It was also no surprise that, 
within a short time, Masani himself became General- Secretary, 
that party headquarters were moved to Bombay, and that the 
'preparatory convention' of the party was scheduled first for 
Ahmedabad and then moved to Bombay. (This also suggests the 
importance of the FFE's role in the party.) That even Rajaji and 
Ranga were themselves concerned is suggested by the serious 
effort that was made to have Jayaprakash Nar ayan (who had attended 
the Madras meeting at Rajaji's invitation) assume the leadership 
of the party. 56 Masani himself stated publicly that this effort to 
recruit Narayan was made— but failed. 57 It remained to be seen 
whether the 'founding fathers' would prove sufficiently attractive 
in the political marketplace to contribute substantially to the 
party's organizational and electoral efforts. 

There was also considerable anxiety concerning finances, be- 
cause, with ample justice, many feared that big business would not 
dare to offend the Congress by making substantial contributions 
to Swatantra. This problem and the association of Swatantra with 
the FFE led most party leaders to comment on the financial 
prospects. Thus, Masani took pains to explain his view, and there 
can be no doubt that he was very serious in making the following 
statement : 

It has been suggested that the Swatantra Party is depending on large 
funds from Big Business. Not only our opponents but many of our 
supporters are under that wrong impression. . . At a meeting in Banga- 
lore on May 29, with Rajaji in the chair and even before this Party was 
formed, I had said that it would be futile for us to wait for Big Business 
to make up its mind to give us support. . .The reason for this state of 
affairs is not far to seek. It lies in a controlled economy. . .At this point, 
may I be permitted, without hurting the susceptibilities of my business 
friends, to say that the lack of imagination and vision, the supine attitude 
to government and the pathetic desire to clutch at any straw that may 
come their way in the shape of soft words thrown at them occasionally by 
government spokesmen, displayed by certain sections of Business are 
not qualities that are calculated to help them fill the important role they 
have in the country's economic life. 58 

As we shall see below, not only was Masani serious, but with 
respect to the response of Indian big business, he was also entirely 


The Birth of a Party 

Little concern was expressed at this stage about the ability of the 
party to mobilize mass support on the basis of the anti-statist 
programme which the founding fathers envisaged, but the prob- 
lems were clear enough. To communicate this message as the 
common bond among the more conservative opponents of the 
Congress would clearly have required a substantial re-orientation 
of Indian political thinking. Among other things, it would have 
required a subordination of religious, linguistic, and caste differ- 
ences, and a transcendance of many historic animosities, in the 
interests of a common stance concerning political economy. There 
were no illusions concerning the ease with which this could be 
accomplished. The opportunity and the difficulty here were both 
suggested by Masani, who wrote that 'the Nagpur resolution is 
both a challenge and an opportunity. If properly explained, it 
brings to the landed peasants in the villages, who constitute 537 
per cent of our greater population, and to the middle classes in the 
city an awareness of their common interests and their common 
peril.' 59 Furthermore, the successful communication of this 
message did not depend on Swatantra alone. It depended as much, 
if not more, on the 'co-operation' of the Congress, in the sense 
that a broadening and deepening of controls, heavier taxation, and 
the like, would be necessary to help Swatantra establish the 
credibility of its claims about statism. Yet the Congress record 
has consistently been more moderate and more conciliatory than 
would have seemed necessary for Swatantra's good. Thus, on the 
Nagpur Resolution in particular, Nehru was very insistent that 
coercion would never be used to impose 'joint co-operative 
farming', and Shastri made some very conciliatory remarks about 
the fate of private enterprise, which had been sharply castigated 
in a report of the All-Indian Congress Committee (AICC) Planning 
Seminar at Ootacamund some months before. 60 A number of 
journalists and political figures aptly pointed out that in the months 
after the creation of Swatantra, the Congress, both in word and 
deed, sought to pacify some of the key groups to whom the new 
party had to pitch its appeal. Finally, as suggested by the fact that 
the FFE quite explicitly aimed its appeal at the educated classes, 
Masani-style arguments about political economy were not likely to 
find much resonance among the masses, without ample help from 
the Congress. 

Thus, the prevailing conditions posed some very critical 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

problems in terms of Swatantra's ability to 'make a go of it', with 
respect to leadership, finances, and doctrine. At best, very cautious 
optimism was possible. But prospects were not hopeless, and many 
would in any event have persisted on the grounds that it was ' now 
or never'. 

The weeks between the Madras meeting and the 'preparatory 
convention' held in Bombay, i and 2 August, were hectic ones for 
some of the leaders. 61 There was the by no means trivial discussion 
of the name of the new party (the selection of which will be dis- 
cussed subsequently), but more important was the effort to line up 
potential recruits; and Ranga himself cited Paliwal's Gram Raj 
Party (UP), the Janata Party (Bihar), Nagoke's Dehati Janata 
Party (Punjab), the Democratic Party (Andhra), the Krishikar Lok 
Paksh (Gujarat) and the Peasants and Workers Party (Bombay) as 
existing or incipient groups which were possibly vulnerable to a 
merger appeal. 62 Ranga and many other Swatantra recruits travel- 
led widely to agitate against the Nagpur proposals and to gauge 
more effectively the potential support for the party, both from 
existing groups and from the unorganized. 

This in turn raised a question about the basic structure of the 
new party. Would it seek to establish its own identity and its own 
programme throughout India, as Masani favoured (a 'unitary' 
party), or would Swatantra exist only at the level of the national 
Parliament, as a 'holding company', allowing local parties already 
in existence to maintain their own local interests and their own 
electoral symbols, as Paliwal and others favoured (a 'federal' 
party)? 63 The important and persistently vexing issue of party 
structure and centre-state relations was thus broached at the out- 

Finally, there were pre- visions of other important developments 
which would play a major part in the life of the party. There were 
savage attacks on the fledgling party by Nehru and other leading 
Congressmen (as well as by the CPI, of course), which put Swatan- 
tra very quickly on the defensive in many respects. In particular, 
the charge that it was a 'rich man's party', a 'projection' of the 
FFE, and otherwise associated with 'reactionary' and 'selfish' 
vested interests, gave the party a negative image in many quarters, 
an image against which it has had continually to struggle. 64 In 
addition, there was a very early suggestion of a Swatantra-Jan 


The Birth of a Party 

Sangh merger, which raised the general question of the new 
party's relations with the more important, existing opposition 
groups. 65 Just having been born, Swatantra was obliged to learn 
to stand on its feet and to defend itself in a hostile environment. All 
of the problems notwithstanding, by the time of the preparatory 
convention, some leaders of existing parties had already decided 
to cast their lot with Swatantra and many locally influential people 
from all parts of India had evinced more than passing interes tin 
the new party. A party had been born; but it was at Bombay that 
it suggested a capacity to survive. 66 





During the years covered by this study of Swatantra (1959-66), the 
'inner circle' of the party's national elite has consisted of Rajaji, 
Ranga, Munshi, and Masani, with Sir Homy P. Mody as a much 
less visible and less active colleague. Around these men a variety 
of personalities and purposes have clustered, ebbing and flowing, 
and they would seem to constitute the ' experienced and responsible 
politicians' whose emergence as the nucleus of a conservative party 
was predicted much earlier. By any reasonable standards, the 
careers of these five men are exceptionally distinguished. 

Rajaji, the founder-leader, was one of the towering figures of the 
Nationalist movement, Premier and Chief Minister of Madras, 
Home Minister in the central government, Governor of West 
Bengal, and the only Indian Governor-General of India. Ranga, 
the President, was educated at Oxford, has been an economics 
professor, and was a stalwart in the Andhra Congress, a founder 
of the kisan sabha movement, a leader of many agriculturalists' 
organizations, and a frequent delegate to international conferences 
concerning agriculture. Munshi, the senior Vice-President, was 
also a veteran Congressman who was Home Minister of Bombay, 
Agriculture Minister in the central government, Governor of UP, 
and a principal architect of India's constitution; and he is well 
known also for his distinguished legal, literary, and educational- 
cultural work. Masani, the General- Secretary, was educated in 
Bombay and London (London School of Economics), was called 
to the bar at Lincoln's Inn, has been a lawyer, economist and 
management consultant. He was also a veteran Congressman, a 
founder of the Congress Socialist Party (CSP), Mayor of Bombay, 
Ambassador to Brazil, and Chairman of the UN Subcommittee for 
Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. Mody, 
party Treasurer, is one of India's pre-eminent businessmen- 
financiers, was a member of the Viceroy's Council (i93 I ~43)? a 
representative of Indian business at the Round Table Conferences, 
and Governor of UP. This truncated list of the accomplishments 


The Swatantra ''Inner Circle' 

of the inner circle suffices to show why the party's leadership 'was 
too distinguished or too popular to be ignored', and it does no 
violence to their stature to insist that they were and are far more 
'distinguished' than 'popular'. 1 

Beyond this it would seem difficult to generalize about the inner 
circle, save to say that they are all 'comparatively older men' who 
are united in their opposition to communism and to what they 
regard as the increasingly 'statist' policies of the Congress, especi- 
ally under Nehru. 2 Certain differences among them are obvious 
from even a superficial familiarity with the men and their back- 
grounds. Masani and Mody are Parsis, the other three are Hindus. 
Of the three Hindus, two (Rajaji and Munshi) are Brahmins, while 
Ranga is a 'clean' sudra (a Kamma). Masani and Mody are very 
highly westernized and very much oriented toward the modern 
business-industrial world, while the others are, in varying ways, 
more in tune with non-industrial India. To complicate matters 
even further, Ranga and Masani were radical relative to the main 
thrust of the Congress in the 1930s, while the others were, in vary- 
ing ways, relatively conservative. The diversity is so apparent that 
it has elicited the oft-heard, derisive comment that the party is a 
' melange ' or a ' medley ' of fundamentally uncongenial bedfellows — 
which is particularly strange when coming from a Congressman. 3 
But the question remains : what forces are represented and on what 
basis have they come together? Surely there were disparate ele- 
ments involved in the rebellion of 1857, just as there were disparate 
elements in the nationalist movement, but it makes a great deal of 
difference to specify just who was represented and on what basis. 
By the same token, we must ask if the key Swatantra leaders simply 
represent old interests in unmodified form, jostling uncom- 
fortably cheek-by-jowl, or do they in combination, if not individu- 
ally, represent a new direction in Indian political life? Put another 
way, is Swatantra simply the Jan Sangh or the RRP or some other 
force in disguise, or all of them lumped together, or something 

From this standpoint, we can in fact say a good bit more than 
the assertion that Swatantra's leadership is a medley of older men 
united in their opposition to communism, although this is in itself 
important. We can say that within the inner circle there are repre- 
sentatives of at least three major strands of thought: the idealized 
village, militant Hinduism, and modern industrial capitalism. But 



The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

we can say still more. Historically, none of the Swatantra inner 
circle has displayed any appreciable affinity for aristocratic con- 
servatism, and while the other three strands of thought are repre- 
sented, the leadership, collectively, has a centre of gravity which 
lies outside of the pale of the ' messiahs of backwardness ' and of the 
militant Hindus. The Swatantra inner circle is, in this very broad 
sense, more moderate than one had previously found in most 
parties of the right. Whether this moderation, as we shall define it 
further, conforms to India's needs, and whether the conditions are 
at all favourable to such an approach, are different questions for 
which answers will also be suggested in due course. 


Apart from the obvious fact that none of the key national leaders 
was himself a member of the ' feudal' elites, it is also true that none 
had any particular commitment to the historical position of these 
classes and the views they expressed. This was in part due to the 
nature of pre-independence politics, i.e. the association of the 
princes and the landlords with the British and their combined 
resistance to the aspirations of even moderate nationalists. But it 
flowed also from an awareness that it would be sheer folly to 
retain the princely states and unthinkable to retain the landed 

The animosity of Masani and Ranga toward these classes flowed 
from their leftist posture in the 1930s, i.e. their affiliation with the 
CSP and the kisan sabha movement, respectively. The CSP, of 
which Masani was a founder-leader (1934), was not homogeneous 
in its 'socialist' outlook, and Masani was a representative of the 
social democratic or Fabian strand of thought. 4 Yet the group as a 
whole and Masani personally were extremely hostile to the 
aristocratic classes. The CSP programme of 1934 urged 'elimina- 
tion of Princes and Landlords and all other classes of exploiters, 
without compensation', and Masani, in 1938, deplored the fact 
that in recent Congress declarations 'the people of the Indian 
States, who form a fourth of the nation, are told to fight on their 
own and to expect no direct aid from the people of British India'. 5 
Even after he turned his back on socialism and embraced a variant 
of 'Gandhism', Masani, a highly anglicized Parsi from a wealthy 
urban family, remained hostile to the basic perspectives of the 


The Swatantra ' Inner Circle'' 

Hindu traditionalists, whether aristocratic or non-aristocratic. 6 By 
and large, it is fair to say that ' no figure in Indian political life could 
be more unambiguously modernist than . . .Minoo Masani'. 7 

Ranga, as a sudra by caste background and as one of India's pre- 
eminent peasant leaders, was similarly extremely hostile toward 
the aristocracy, as well as toward the Brahmin priesthood, whose 
world-view relegated his caste to a position slightly above perdi- 
tion. In addition — and here he differed sharply from Masani — he 
was fundamentally anti-industrial in outlook. Both then and now, 
Ranga is first and foremost a peasant 'populist', and his conception 
of what is good for an independent peasantry has been the pole- 
star in his ideological life. Both the anti-aristocratic and the anti- 
industrial themes are present in his assertion that 'influenced so 
powerfully as I had been by the inspiring Russian achievements and 
Leninist destruction of the monopoly of power held by the tradi- 
tional, feudal, princely, commercial and industrial classes, and even 
the priestly and intellectual orders of society', he found it in- 
evitable that he seek to lead India's peasant masses against these 
same forces. 8 Similarly, he frequently spoke at length of the need 
'to set right the present inequalities of wealth and income, and 
consequent achievement of social and cultural opportunities as 
between the agricultural and non-agricultural peoples, as between 
the toilers as a whole and the capitalist-cum-feudal-cum-priestly 
orders and to save the State from the exploiting classes...'. 9 
Throughout the 1920s and 1930s he was critical of Gandhi and 
other leading Congressmen for their seeming tenderness toward 
the landlord class, and he claimed, for example, that the 'agitation 
led by the Mahatma in Champaran did not lead up to any fight 
against the main causes for the terrible poverty and sufferings of 
Champaran peasants ... It does strike us rather significant that 
both he (Gandhi) and Raj en Prasad should have remained scru- 
pulously silent upon the ravages of the zamindari system. . . ' 10 
Emphasizing always the needs and 'revolutionary' aspirations of 
the world's peasants, Ranga, displaying 'an element of the pro- 
selytizing missionary in his restless political crusading', 11 articu- 
lated a 'peasant socialist' theory which boiled down 'in concrete 
terms to a defense of peasant proprietorship as opposed to land 
nationalization'— and, it is important to add, to 'feudal' land- 
lordism. 12 Whatever the precise quality of his 'socialism' may be, 
there can be no doubt about his historical antipathy to India's 



The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

aristocratic and priestly classes and to the world-view which they 
advanced to justify their superior positions. 13 

Munshi and Rajaji were far from implacably hostile to the 
princely order, 14 yet both favoured Patel's approach to the princely 
states. Munshi, from his rather militant, nationalist perspective, 
was happy to call Patel the 'Bismarck of India', 15 while the more 
restrained Rajaji announced that 'history has taken a course 
which we cannot alter now. . .we need a new form of government 
. . . we have to integrate India into one'. 16 He added that while the 
rulers might serve a useful, if largely symbolic and ornamental 
function as governors of states, for example, this ' does not mean 
you should have 560 Princes to confuse matters'. 17 Finally, 
Rajaji urged the princes, many of whom had viciously condemned 
the Congress, to contribute to the success of the new government, 
for 'if the Princes love the people, they should love the Ministers 
whom the people have elected. . . \ 18 

The same broad considerations apply as well to the great landed 
intermediaries, the zamindars and jagirdars. Masani and Ranga, 
during the 1920s and beyond, adhered to the view that these were 
exploiting classes which had to be eliminated. Rajaji and Munshi 
were again less hostile, but they, like so many non-radical 
Congressmen, found the position of the intermediaries inde- 
fensible, because of the extreme misery of the tiller of the soil and 
the social instability which this could carry in its wake. Even so 
conservative a person as Sampurnanand (now — 1966 — Governor 
of Rajasthan) could not confront the situation in rural India 
with anything but horror: 

The whole picture is heart-rending ... Every where it was the same 
monstrous tale of heavy rents, illegal demands, arrears, ejectments, 
debts of mahajans, sale of belongings and trees, semi-starvation, and 
semi-nudity, beatings and tortures by zamindars and their employees to 
compel payments of legal and illegal demands, and bleak outlook for the 
future... The Kisan passes his life in an atmosphere of perennial 
terrorization. 19 

Rajaji and Munshi both realized that an improvement in the 
position of the tenant was mandatory, for humane reasons and to 
forestall more radical solutions to the problem; and Rajaji sup- 
ported the famous 'Karachi Resolution' on abolition of the 
zamindari system. Furthermore, when Premier of Madras (i937"9) 


The Swatantra 6 Inner Circle'' 

he proposed some fairly drastic (by prevailing standards) land 
reform legislation, even though it never approached expropriation 
of landlords; and when he returned as Chief Minister after the 
first general elections, he saw to the passage of legislation which 
provided greater security of tenure and a larger share of produce 
for tenants. 20 

With respect to both the princes and the landed aristocrats, 
Mody was generally restrained. None the less, as a leading 
spokesman for Indian business, Mody also came to be critical of 
the aristocracy, which, by and large, served to retard constitutional 
and economic progress of the type he desired. 21 Showing no par- 
ticular animus beyond this, Mody still shared with Masani the out- 
look of a highly westernized Parsi, fundamentally at odds with the 
traditional, aristocratic world- view; and he would have to be 
classified as a non-aristocratic moderate in this context. Whatever 
the present attitude in the inner circle may be toward the princes 
and landlords, it should be clear that historically Swatantra's 
leaders favoured as a minimum Patel's approach to these classes. 22 


If the Swatantra inner circle neither individually nor collectively 
was inclined to defend aristocratic conservatism, the same cannot 
be said for the other strands of thought outlined above. In par- 
ticular, Rajaji's views are crucial here, not only because he is 
Swatantra's stellar attraction, but also because he is a determined 
exponent of a refined, 'high culture' version of the idealized village 
model. Inasmuch as this strand of thought is one of the most 
appealing in recent Indian intellectual history, because of its 
association with 'Gandhism', its exposition by Rajaji requires the 
closest attention. 23 

Rajaji's general approach is suggested by Sheean's observation 
that the Swatantra founder-leader shows a 'yearning for a home- 
spun and disarmed society, a sort of Gandhian abstraction', but we 
need not and cannot rest content with such an imprecise characteri- 
zation. 24 Rajaji himself has provided ample documentation for 
such a conclusion about his views, by endorsing Gandhi's belief 
that ' civilization consists not in multiplication of wants but in the 
deliberate and voluntary restriction of wants '. And similarly he has 
endorsed the contention that 'high thinking is inconsistent with a 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

complicated material life, based on high speed imposed on us by 
mammon worship'. 25 This commitment need not, however, in- 
volve a defence of the traditional, village-based order, although it is 
quite compatible with it. To understand the full range of Rajaji's 
thought, it is necessary to go beyond this basic posture. 

A second basic point, which might seem at first glance to con- 
flict with the first, is reflected in Rajaji's assertion that he, like 
Gandhi (in his view), believes that 'machinery has its place, it has 
come to stay'. 26 So too he insists that he, like Gandhi, is 'an 
enemy of the machine when the machine became the master and 
man became its slave'. 27 While thus trying to separate himself from 
those who oppose machinery as such, it is also clear that 'slavery' 
is considered to be inherent to some extent in all large-scale enter- 
prise in heavily urban-industrial settings. The latter feeling pulls 
Rajaji back toward the village and more modest technology. 

Equally important to understand is Rajaji's approach to the 
manner in which, and the scale on which, machinery should be 
introduced, and, more generally, to the way in which economic 
change should be undertaken. Briefly, he insists that economic 
change minimize the 'dehumanizing' aspects of modern industry, 
that it minimize dislocations attendant upon its introduction, and 
that it keep technology as close to ' human scale ' as possible. This is 
clear from cases which Rajaji himself has raised to illustrate his 
views. What, he once asked, if the only son of a village potter 
decided to seek alternative employment (not necessarily in modern 
industry) outside the village? The local producer would no longer 
be there to meet traditional needs in the traditional, predictable 
manner; the villagers would, he said, be unable to afford machine- 
made substitutes; and, as a consequence, the level of living of the 
common man in the village would actually decline as a result of 
economic change. 28 Obviously, insistence that all such dislocations 
be minimized implies a rather strict adherence to the hereditary, 
caste-based division of labour, with its hierarchical implications. 
Rajaji thus defends the ancien regime indirectly, on grounds other 
than strictly traditional ones. 

The second case illustrates equally critical dimensions of 
Rajaji's conservatism and shows the vehemence with which he can 
respond to the 'improper' introduction of modern technology. 
Speaking of the position of the handloom weavers during a par- 
ticularly acute 'time of troubles', Rajaji asserted that they 'have 

The Swatantra c Inner Circle'' 

fought bravely against foreign mill manufacture and next, against 
Indian mill manufacture \ and he insisted that 'we cannot allow 
the capitalist mill industry to create unemployment on a mon- 
strous scale ... No sacrifice is too heavy, no measures are too harsh, 
if we find that by such measures we can avert the disaster that is 
slowly but surely advancing towards us.' 29 In this case, unlike the 
first, the obvious implication is that the villager could more easily 
afford machine-made goods, but that the economic change must 
be resisted because of the involuntary and sudden displacement 
of a certain class of producers, without alternative employment. 
Thus, whether the producer deserts his post voluntarily and 
causes dislocations in the village through non-availability of goods 
or services, or whether he is involuntarily displaced, causing dis- 
locations of a different type, is really immaterial : all dislocations 
should be minimized. It is immediately obvious that only the most 
gradual economic change is compatible with such an approach, 
which justifies the charge that there are very formidable elements 
or 'disguised conservatism' embedded in Rajaji's views. It be- 
comes somewhat less hidden when we note that Rajaji has explicitly 
endorsed the 'trade-school' function of caste in the absence of 
alternative facilities and that his educational plans for Madras 
included training in one's hereditary caste occupation, as an 
important component. 30 

Ranga, from his perspective as a peasant populist, shares this 
anti-industrial and to a lesser extent the gradualist bias, as is clear 
from his condemnation of the Congress, because 
they wish to draw millions of our artisans into the embraces of the small 
factories tied up however loosely to the growing large-scale money 
economy as is evident by their plans to replace the whole of the hand- 
loom weavers. . .by the introduction. . .of power looms through the 
sugar-coated weavers' power loom co-operatives. They also want to 
replace crores of small shopkeepers and their family economy of trading 
by introducing state-controlled, regulated or owned grain shops . . . 31 

In this case, we are moving toward the conclusion that no matter 
how gradual or how close to 'human scale' technological change 
may be, it is undesirable, and Rajaji is by no means unsympathetic 
to the idea. 32 There are some differences, to be sure, because Rajaji 
adopts a more philosophical approach to this issue, by contrast 
with Ranga who is something of a fanatical populist. A key point, 
however, is that such positions lay the basis for conflict with those 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 
who are more urban-industrial in orientation, both inside and 
outside the party. 

While Ranga by and large rests content with this, Rajaji goes 
well beyond it, and a further examination of his views leads toward 
the heart of his conservatism and into an area where he and Munshi 
join hands. The key point is this: overarching all other views and 
preoccupations is one which transcends dislocations and types of 
technology and levels of living. This is brought out in Rajaji's 
assertion that 

planned economy and cooperative life in place of the competitive and 
selfish motive [associated with laissez faire capitalism], is modern 
economy. This cannot be effectively achieved if it depends on mere 
authority, however powerful. We must have a generally accepted culture 
which works as a law from within, to assist the law imposed from with- 
out. Unless we have the help of culture, mere material planmng cul- 
minates in fraud and corruption. 33 
Embellishing this same theme, Rajaji asserted that 
properly designed and placed on a spiritual basis, a regulated economy 
need not be inconsistent with individual satisfaction and individual zeal. 
The restraints and habits of mind that are required to be developed for 
altruistic action must flow from faith and inner conviction. 34 

If ' culture' restrained people, virtually any type of technology and 

any level of living would seem to be acceptable— even though this 

seems to contradict the view that 'high thinking is inconsistent 

with complicated material life...'. If 'culture' prevailed, due 

respect would be shown by all economic actors for the interests of 

others: the village potter would not desert his job, the capitalist 

would not be a robber-baron and would not exploit his workers, 

economic planners would not pursue policies which generate 

severe dislocations, nor, in a more general sense, would 'social 

engineers' attempt to reconstruct the lives of the people. This is 

the 'responsible individualism' which Rajaji understands by the 

notion of ' trusteeship ', and in this version, Rajaji's doctrine falls 

on responsive ears in India. 35 But it is clear that too many people, 

and especially the incumbent government, are not disciplined by 

culture and by spiritual principles. Here, Rajaji is in complete 

agreement with Munshi, who once wrote of the 'complete 

identity' which existed between the Gandhian leaders and the 

masses, as opposed to the westernized leadership which 'has not 


The Swatantra ' Inner Circle'' 

learnt to reflect the mind of the masses. It does not know the idiom 
of their life. It is too deeply engrossed in leading, directing and 
organizing them from a higher pedestal.' 36 Both Rajaji and Munshi 
agree that only through a restoration of ' culture ' and £ spirituality ' 
can India progress and be true to her own destiny, and both place 
a great deal of emphasis on trusteeship in this connection. 37 

If we now ask how * culture' and 'spirituality' can be secured, 
we get close to bed-rock. In part, as we have already seen, it de- 
pends (more for Rajaji than for Munshi), on very modest material 
commitments and interests, although Rajaji is not free from 
apparent contradictions on this point. But, apart from this, it 
depends on other circumstances as well. Defining 'culture' as 
'essentially the prevailing pattern of joyous restraint accepted by 
the people ', 38 Rajaji links it to the maintenance of dharma, or moral 
duty, which is f an organic growth which it is our duty to respect 
and which we should not treat as mere Indian superstition or 
eccentricity'. 39 This, in turn, depends on the maintenance of 
religious values in a high culture sense, as Rajaji conceives them, as 
he made explicit in his contention that ' if there is any honesty in 
India today, any hospitality, any chastity, any philanthropy, any 
tenderness to dumb creatures, any aversion to evil, any love to do 
good, it is due to whatever remains of the old culture'. 40 And, to 
put it briefly, he said that 'if our four-hundred millions strike out 
religion from their lives, India will be wiped out'. 41 

To maintain dharma and c joyous restraint ' it is necessary, accord- 
ing to Rajaji, to sustain those institutions which have inculcated 
them over the centuries in India, and here we do arrive at bed- 
rock. For on this score, Rajaji asserts that the joint family is an 
'institution which gives a distinctive feature to life in India', and 
that it is the jati which is ' the most important element in the 
organization of our society'. 42 Over the years, Rajaji has bemoaned 
the fact that these were weakened by 'the cult of individuality' 
which came to India through 'the impact of the West'. 43 Noting 
that these institutions had been weakened but not totally under- 
mined 'by the impact of Western individualism and perverted 
movements of social reform', Rajaji has expressed the hope that 
'perhaps we may yet see the light and revise our opinions and 
revive and strengthen these so-called reactionary virtues of helping 
people around us and acquiring merit in the eyes of the Gods and 
saving the welfare state a lot of trouble'. 44 Thus, rather than 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

being viewed as coercive vis-a-vis the individual and parochial 
vis-a-vis society as a whole, the great pillars of Indian society (joint 
family, jati, and village) are seen as beneficent institutions which 
serve a number of critical social purposes. They develop the sense 
of ' culture', force attention to larger social groupings than does 
western individualism, and they are, moreover, structures of 
'decentralized socialism', which have long insulated the Indian 
(or at least the Hindu) against the ravages of his natural and man- 
made environments. 45 

It is here that the Congress has committed its greatest sin: 

The loosening of the religious impulse is the worst of the dis-services 
rendered by the Congress to the nation. We must organize a new force 
and movement to replace the greed and the class hatred of Congress 
materialism with a renovated spiritual outlook emphasizing the re- 
straints of good conduct as of greater importance than the triumphs of 
organized covetousness. Every effort should be made to foster and main- 
tain spiritual values and preserve what is good in our national culture 
and tradition and avoid dominance of a purely material philosophy of 
life which thinks only in terms of the standard of life without any 
reference to its content or quality. 46 

The need, then, is for a strong party which will first check the 
Congress and then re-emphasize the values and institutions which 
are quintessentially Indian. Should such a reversal be effected, 
viz. from the government's 'atheistic' policy to one which is 
'secular' but supports all religions equally, 47 benefits would be 
evident in all areas of Indian life. The quality of government would 
be enhanced, because religion would serve as a ' force counter- 
acting the baser pulls of polities'; the 'modern economy' would 
develop properly; and even the 'poorest he' in India would derive 
great benefits, because the all-pervading sense of spirituality has 
meant that 'beggars are honoured in spite of their obviously un- 
satisfactory way of life' and 'the poor man commands not only 
respect but a religious status by reason of his poverty'. 48 And if 
this can be said of the beggar and the pauper, can the rest of the 
society be so bad? 

Taken together, the emphasis on restriction of wants, on 
minimizing dislocations, on the need to sustain 'culture' through 
the family and the;<m, and the like, would go far toward maintain- 
ing the status quo in India. In this sense, Rajaji is fundamentally a 
conservative, which he himself freely admits, without mvokmg 


The Swatantra c Inner Circle' 

traditionalist dogmas of the type found in RRP pronouncements, 
and Rajaji draws close to the 'messiahs of backwardness ' in some 
respects. 49 It may be a consolation that Rajaji eschews traditional 
justifications for supporting many traditional institutions, practices 
and values, but it is, to this author, a small one. 

But even more than this remains to be said, and some of the 
pertinent points have already been touched upon. As we have seen, 
Rajaji favoured the integration of the princely states and limited 
action against the interests of the landlord class. During his term 
as Premier of Madras he favoured a permissive bill, on the 
principle of local option, to permit temple entry by harijans. He 
helped to pass a bill to prohibit the exclusion of harijans from all 
facilities built with or maintained by state funds. He has spoken in 
favour of, although he would never dream of compelling, inter- 
caste marriage, and he permitted it in the case of his own children. 
He has told the practitioners of traditional forms of medicine that 
'vested interests should never be allowed to mar the progress of 
science'. He reprimanded Indian businessmen for preferring in 
some ways the ' placid pool ' of the British raj to the ' swift river ' of 
independence politics, He is, moreover, well aware that many 
Congress reforms are irrevocable and that many processes of 
change have been set in motion which can be moderated but not 
arrested. In particular, he has come recently to insist that it is too 
late to go back to a village economy and he has emphasized instead 
the decentralization of more modern industry. And it is worth 
recalling that he defended his call for a 'party on the right' by say- 
ing that dislocations, etc., ' are not less real or important than the 
need for change and progress', which not only makes clear his 
conservatism but also indicates that he considers himself very 
much a Burkean in this respect. 50 Some of these matters may be 
largely symbolic gestures of little practical significance, viz. 
temple entry through 'local option', but there are some people for 
whom even these symbolic departures from the status quo are 
anathema, and it is well to remember that Rajaji is not among them. 
On other points, the departures from orthodoxy and tradition are 
significant and they serve to pull Rajaji back from the RRP and its 
spiritual kinfolk. 

Furthermore, from his high culture perspective, Rajaji is fully 
confident that Hinduism is compatible with very substantial 
progress. He insists that 'the fathers of Hindu religious thought 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

approached their subject in a scientific spirit. They treated religion 
as a whole as a search for truth and not as a matter of dogma.' 51 
Vedantic thought, which he has termed 'the root of Indian 
culture', is 'fully consistent with the awe-inspiring and beautiful 
universe as it is unfolded by science ', while 'the way of life 
preached in the Gita is fully consistent with progressive views of 
citizenship'. 52 Thus, provided Hinduism is properly understood, 
it is no bar to 'modernization'. But there is a problem here which 
obliges us to approach Rajaji's formulations with some caution. 
In addition to the refined Hinduism of the Brahmin intellectual 
and of the high culture, there is also the popular Hinduism of the 
masses, which is more bound up with dogma, social orthodoxy, 
and, especially, the full panoply of considerations related to the 
hereditary caste system. To emphasize its flexibility may liberate 
the intellectual, but this will escape the common man, whose con- 
nection with Hinduism is scarcely liberating. Put another way, in 
his analysis Rajaji uses the term dharma in a rather abstract 
fashion, but more relevant in popular Hinduism is the more ' earthly ' 
notion of varnashramadharma, or the moral duty of a man in terms 
of his social status (varna) and his stage of life (ashrama). The 
former usage may be flexible, the latter is not, and in this sense, 
too, there is an element of 'disguised conservatism' which intrudes 
into Rajaji's approach. 

Rajaji himself is by no means oblivious to these criticisms. 
He quoted Nehru's view that much that was deplorable in India 
flowed from the 'old culture' and he quoted Nehru's con- 
tention that ' I do not see how by means of that traditional system 
you can ever get rid of the problem of poverty'. 53 He has also 
admitted that 'the tyranny of the community may by some be 
considered worse than that imposed by any form of state control \ 54 
It is clear, however, where Rajaji's sympathies lie. 

There are still some critical, concluding points to be made about 
Rajaji. First, in his more recent statements, Rajaji has empha- 
sized the need to increase industrial output, when applying the 
doctrine of trusteeship to the modern sector. Thus, he has 
backed away somewhat from a general emphasis on voluntary 
restriction of wants. Secondly, as we have already seen, he has 
proved to be enough of a realist to acknowledge that it is impossible 
to go back to the village and that it is impossible to prevent the 
spread of modern industry. Thus, he has come to stress the de- 


The Swatantra 'Inner Circle' 

centralization of modern industry, favouring smaller-scale pro- 
jects and favouring the distribution of all industry, large or small, 
over as wide an area as possible, to minimize dislocations and to 
avoid a mad rush to overcrowded and otherwise undesirable 
urban areas. 55 Thirdly, the struggle against 'statism', Rajaji's 
present preoccupation, has allowed him to supplement his more 
traditional formulations with more liberal ones, because * statism ' 
is worse than either and menaces both. Thus, while generally 
stressing self-restraint and insisting that it is necessary to curb 
c the free play of individual ambitions 5 , 56 he can also argue, in 
the present context, that 'the individual is the only reality. The 
State is a non-living entity. The Leviathan has no soul. If the 
individual is wiped out we reduce the nation to a soul-less exist- 
tence.' 57 This, however, still allows the individual and his soul to 
be defined by the family and the/arz, and hence it is more important 
to stress his view that 'to let every person act creatively as he 
chooses, looks no doubt reactionary and chaotic; notwithstanding 
this, it is the best means of making people work'. 58 Although his 
primary emphasis has long been anti-individualistic and con- 
servative, Rajaji here advances arguments which are more classical 
liberal in flavour. He has, in short, supplemented his conservatism 
with a modicum of liberal individualism. Even individualism, it 
appears, does not look so bad when juxtaposed to the spectre of 
statism which haunts Rajaji. 59 In these important respects, Rajaji 
has been groping toward a more resilient position which combines 
his older Burkean conservatism with a more recent infusion of 
liberalism. It is probably too much to say that Rajaji is 'an 
ingenious and perfect combination' of traditional and modern 
conservatism, 60 but it is clear that he does not feel able to turn his 
back on the twentieth century. To put the matter somewhat dif- 
ferently, if Rajaji were made dictator of India, he would doubtless 
act along strongly (non-aristocratic) conservative lines, but in the 
present, competitive political context he has become more flexible 
in outlook and less close to a full-blown conservative position. 


Munshi, while a close personal friend and associate of Rajaji and 
while sharing his determination to sustain the spirit of Indian 
(more specifically Hindu) culture, displays a markedly more 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

militant approach to public affairs. Both historically and currently, 
Munshi has been acutely sensitive to problems of national unity and 
cohesion, which have had a decisive impact on his views of religion, 
language, caste, political organization, and the like. 

A useful starting-point, because it illustrates differences between 
Munshi and Rajaji, is the matter of partition and the more general 
problem of religious and other minorities in the subcontinent. Here 
we see that Munshi withdrew from the Congress during the Second 
World War so that he might carry on the fight against the Pakistan 
demand, which Rajaji, almost alone among top Congress leaders at 
this stage, wanted to accept in principle so that a wartime ' national ' 
government could perhaps be formed. In a kindred vein, Munshi 
emphasized his concern for national unity and strength after it 
became clear that Pakistan would become a reality, by stating to 
the Constituent Assembly: 

I feel, thank God, that we have got out of this bag at last. We have no 
sections and no groups to go into, no elaborate procedure as was en- 
visaged, no double-majority, no more provinces with residuary powers, 
no opting out, no revision after ten years, and no longer only four 
categories of powers for the Centre. We feel free to form a federation of 
our own choice. . .We have now a homogeneous country. 61 

Munshi was determined to establish a very strong central govern- 
ment in India, and to this end he reminded the members of the 
Constituent Assembly that India's most ' glorious days 5 were those 
spent under 'a strong central authority 5 and 'the most tragic days 
were when the central authority ... was dismembered by the 
provinces trying to resist it'. 62 Virtually every one of Munshi' s key 
positions is embedded in these remarks. 

Munshi to this day remains fearful of religious divisions in 
India, admitting in effect that he was premature in his view that 
India had become a homogeneous country upon the creation of 
Pakistan. Thus, he found it necessary to support a suggested ban on 
religious parties as electoral participants, while at the same time 
arguing that a complete ban on all religiously based groups would 
be unconstitutional : 

Religious appeals evoke the most intimate of responses. Such appeals if 
issued by religious parties would mean that Hindus, Muslims, Christians, 
and Sikhs would be pitted against one another in the elections on the 
basis of their religious attitudes and interests. A stage would have been 


The Swatantra 'Inner Circle* 

set for a religious conflict during the elections which would be trans- 
ferred into the arena of legislatures. Ultimately, it would strengthen 
disruptive tendencies, dividing the nation into warring religious interests. 
We have enough danger in linguism without having to create another 
equally dangerous front. 63 

That a suppression of religious appeals would leave most of the 
trump cards in the hands of the overwhelming Hindu majority is 
one of the least of Munshi's worries, because he has always been 
far less concerned about Hindu chauvinism and communalism than 
about other forms of parochialism. 64 It is an awareness of this 
which makes Muslims, Sikhs, and other minorities very suspicious 
(to say the least) of Munshi, as he has made clear his hostility to 
them when they engage in what he regards as anti-national 
behaviour. 65 

The contrast between Munshi and Rajaji on this point is very 
sharp. Concerning the same proposed ban on communal parties, 
Rajaji said that the ban would be 'a foolish and unconstitutional 
enterprise. . .attacks on minorities by the majority are not only 
unconstitutional but mean ', and he asserted that ' any grouping for 
protecting the interests threatened or under oppression is not 
communaHsm, but is an exercise of the right of association and 
must be deemed lawful '. 66 Once again, Rajaji sees virtues in family, 
caste, religious and other groupings, while Munshi is inclined to 
see only, or primarily, their vices as parochial forces. 

In all areas, according to Munshi, the Congress is responsible 
for having injected into the younger generation 'the venom of 
provincialism and communalism', which, in his view, accounts for 
the fact that 'it is very difficult to find an Indian in India 5 . 67 On 
language more specifically, he has said that linguistic states were 
deplorable, because 'this aggressive group sentiment has tended to 
give undue prominence to one's regional languages against the 
paramount importance of a national medium without which 
national consciousness would wither away', and he has insisted 
that education and all public business should be kept 'from lapsing 
into regional media'. 68 Yet to foster linguistic unity, Munshi does 
not favour a rapid and perhaps forcible imposition of Hindi, as 
does the Jan Sangh, among other groups. In fact, Munshi was one 
of the authors of the fifteen-year compromise formula, whereby 
English would be retained from 1950 to 1965, until Hindi could be 
satisfactorily developed. Even now, however, Munshi is wary of the 

7 97 esp 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

imposition of Hindi. To counter linguistic parochialism, Munshi 
has favoured a zonal rather than a linguistic division of India, to 
which Rajaji has also subscribed, and he has favoured retention of 
English both for official and educational purposes, with a major 
university in each zone to shift eventually from English to Hindi. 69 
Be this as it may, Munshi has not only condemned religious and 
linguistic parochialism, but he has also come down hard on such 
would-be secessionist groups as the DMK in Madras, favouring a 
ban on secessionist propaganda, as most of his colleagues did not. 70 
Resembling the militant Hindu position again is Munshi's con- 
cern for unity and strength among Hindus, for example, overcom- 
ing caste parochialism. He was, for example, quite insistent that 
the constitution specifically allow the government to legislate in 
the area of social reform and to guarantee temple entry to un- 
touchables; 71 and from his earliest days, he had some harsh words 
for the socially orthodox and those who cited scriptural authority 
in defence of the caste system. In this spirit, he abused the 

whose notions of Hinduism are so wonderful that he will not and 
cannot be reconciled to the opening of the temples to Hanjans. He 
believes that his Hinduism is an arrogant creed which bases its existence 
on the superiority of one caste over the other. His faith is in social in- 
equality. He believes in hereditary social injustice. . .Sir, it is a very 
unfortunate mentality, though I am very glad to say that it is restricted 
to a very few . . . The social structure of Hindu India is entirely different 
from the spirit of Hinduism and we do hope that Hinduism will be 
purged of its greatest disgrace of which we really feel ashamed. . .We 
would be untrue to the Nation and the whole spirit of Hinduism if we 
allowed such notions of social inequality to be prepetuated in times like 
this. 72 

The claim that the 'spirit of Hinduism' is entirely different from 
the social structure of Hindu India is a familiar one among would- 
be reformers of Hindu society; and those who advance this view 
endeavour to stress a few key principles which all Hindus may 
embrace, and to stress the flexibility of Hinduism, as Rajaji has 

done. w u . , 

In his effort to capture the 'spirit of Hinduism , Munshi has 
availed himself of both traditional and novel means. When he was 
Minister for Food and Agriculture, Munshi ' declared that respect 
for the cow was a unifying sentiment for Hindus and that there 


The Swatantra ' Inner Circle* 

was "no higher Dharma" than her protection'. 73 But far more 
important than such isolated, if recurrent pronouncements of a 
topical sort is Munshi's role as founder-president of Bharatiya 
Vidya Bhavan, an organization devoted to the study and renais- 
sance of Indian (not specifically Hindu) culture. 74 The element of 
renaissance is well illustrated by the organization's statement of 
principles : 

The ultimate aim of Bharatiya Shiksha [education] is to teach the younger 
generation to appreciate and live up to the permanent values of Bhara- 
tiya Vidya [knowledge] which flowing from the supreme act of creative 
life-energy as represented by Shri Ramachandra, Shri Krishna, Vyasa, 
Buddha, and Mahavira have expressed themselves in modern times in 
the life of Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Dayanand Sara- 
swati, and Swami Vivekananda, Shri Aurobindo and Mahatma Gandhi. 75 

It is important to emphasize that the stress is on the spirit of India, 
not on any particular institutional arrangements or specific customs. 
This is evident from the fact that the principal bearers of Hinduism 
in modern times who are cited are all associated with very substan- 
tial efforts at reformation and renaissance, not with maintenance of 
the status quo. But the statement of principles leaves no doubt 
about this : 

Bharatiya Shiksha while equipping the student with every kind of 
scientific and technical training must teach the student not to sacrifice an 
ancient form or attitude to an unreasoning passion for change; nor to 
retain a form or attitude which in the light of modern times can be 
replaced by another form or attitude which is a truer and more effective 
expression of the spirit of Bharatiya Vidya; and to capture the spirit 
afresh for each generation to present it to the world. 76 

Suffice to say, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and the principles for which 
it professes to stand remain as one of the principal institutional 
channels — itself an innovation in this field — for the expression of 
the ' spirit ' of Hinduism and of India. This, coupled with Munshi's 
other efforts, doubtless justifies Harrison's contention that 
Munshi is ' the most sophisticated ideologian of Hindu revivalism ', 77 
and it helps to account for his popularity in Jan Sangh circles. 78 

Tempering Munshi's militancy and centralist proclivities is not 
so much a Gandhian influence (with which he has felt recurrently 
uncomfortable) as his western-oriented legal training and his 
outlook on political institutions more generally. Munshi declined 



The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

to support the Gandhi-led Congress during the 1920s, because, in 
his words, ' Gandhi captured it and changed its creed and method ', 
to an emphasis on the attainment of ' Swaraj by peaceful and 
legitimate means' rather than the earlier 'attainment of Dominion 
Status by Constitutional means'. 79 In short, Munshi gives as his 
own reason for leaving the Congress at this early stage in his 
career the abandonment of more strictly constitutionalist procedures 
and more limited goals. The same tendency is suggested by his 
association with the Swarajist forces, the group which wanted the 
Congress to enter the legislatures and function therein as best it 


Munshi was also alienated from many of the so-called Gandhians 
in the realm of political organization. In keeping with his deter- 
mination to secure a strong political system for India, he felt 
obliged to insist on the retention of the British political model as 
the base upon which India should build, with modifications drawn 
from the American experience in particular. 80 This brought him 
into sharp conflict with those who deplored the proposed retention 
of an alien pattern of government and who wanted to revert to 
something more 'Indian', specifically more 'Gandhian'. In 
Tinker's view, for example, there were two broad schools of 
thought in the Constituent Assembly: first, 'the Liberals and the 
Moderates, former administrators and jurists', who 'welcomed the 
constitution as a worthy instrument of government ' ; and, secondly, 
'a much larger element' which ' deplored the whole constitution as 
a betrayal of Gandhian ideals and of the ancient spirit of India'. 81 
Sampurnanand, a leading Gandhian conservative from UP, insisted 
that 'the attempt at centralization of all power is hardly veiled. . . 
this is bad', and he added that 'our constitution is a miserable 
failure. The spirit of Indian culture has not breathed on it: the 
Gandhism by which we swear so vehemently at home and abroad 
does not inspire it. It is just a piece of legislation like, say, the 
Motor Vehicles Act.' 82 Others argued that 'if you look into this 
Constitution it would be difficult to find anything Indian'; that 
what was wanted was ' the music of the Veena or Sitar, but here we 
have the music of an English band'; and that the constitution 
represented 'a slavish imitation— nay much more— a slavish sur- 
render to the West'. 83 K. Hanumanthaya, a leading Mysore 
Congressman, insisted on great attention to grass-roots institutions 
as the foundation of the new constitution, and he was seconded 


The Swat antra ''Inner Circle' 

here by two of Munshi's Swatantra colleagues, Ranga and Masani. 
The latter, seeking to fuse some of his earlier socialist sentiments 
with Gandhism, spoke of Gandhi's conception of panchayat raj, 
not because of its traditional aspect but because of its potential for 
'grass roots democracy'; and Ranga insisted upon a 'co-operative 
commonwealth, as Bapu was good enough to call it', based 
similarly on grass-roots institutions. 84 

Munshi, as we have seen, also talked of the 'spirit' of India and 
of the need to sustain it, but he did not accept the view that this 
meant retention of a decentralized, village-based political system. 
It could be plausibly argued that no indigenous political model 
seemed likely to assure the unity and strength which Munshi 
desired; and it could also be argued that in Munshi's view, a strong 
state was necessary to protect the 'spirit' of India against future 
subjugation and erosion. Both are doubtless true, but it is also 
true that many of the 'messiahs of backwardness' failed to respond 
to either point and made a fetish out of the village, and it is not a 
matter of splitting hairs to point up such differences, because they 
illustrate important, divergent styles of thinking which must be 
understood for a proper appreciation of Indian political develop- 
ment and of Swatantra's role in it. On this point, too, Rajaji has 
turned his back on the village and has accepted stronger, national 
political institutions, at least as a matter of practical necessity. 

Munshi's defence of the strong, highly centralized political 
system would seem entirely compatible with the views of the 
militant nationalists, such as those in the Jan Sangh. Here, how- 
ever, there are also certain differences, at least vis-a-vis the proto- 
typical Jan Sanghi. For one thing, Munshi did not favour as highly 
centralized a state as did many of the militant nationalists, but re- 
commended instead a federal scheme along zonal lines. In addi- 
tion, as we have already seen, he rejected the pro-Hindi fanaticism 
of many militants by advocating the compromise language formula. 

More important yet, there has always been a very strong emphasis 
on legalism in his approach to politics and a great respect for con- 
stitutional niceties, neither of which bulks very large in the con- 
cerns of the RRP, the Mahasabha, or the Sangh. Munshi is aware 
of this legalist strain and he has quite emphatically defended it by 
arguing that 'the rule of the tribe of lawyers is any day better than 
the rule of the tribe of tyrants \ 85 Munshi tempered his own cen- 
tralist bias with an emphasis on judicial review and on ' due process ', 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

which were borrowed explicitly from American constitutional 
experience, and he defended this in part by citing the overwhelming 
strength of the Congress as a principal reason for establishing a 
strong and independent judiciary and for demanding scrupulous 
attention to civil liberties. 86 Munshi's anxiety on this point well 
ante-dated the surge of the Socialist pattern' of society and even 
ante-dated the passing of the great 'iron man', Patel. Still, it is 
possible to argue that Munshi could see the handwriting on the 
wall and favoured steps to check political power as it might be used 
by Nehru and the secular socialists. This clearly seems to have been 
the case in Munshi's more recent defence of the autonomous 
powers of the President of the Republic and his efforts to prevent 
the offices of law minister and attorney-general— an independent 
legal adviser to the President— from being fused. 87 This concern 
for constitutional issues, for whatever reason, is still of the utmost 
importance, because not every opponent of socialism has re- 
sponded in this fashion. Munshi steadfastly talks in legalistic, 
constitutionalist terms, which is to be much admired in a country 
which is seeking to establish a constitutional democracy and the 
'rule of law'. 

The legalistic, constitutionalist strain is quite widespread in the 
Swatantra elite as a whole (and not only in the inner circle), and 
two party undertakings with which Munshi was intimately in- 
volved illustrate this. First, there was the 'Public Advice Commit- 
tee', established by the party in December 1959, to consider 
'matters relating to public policy, Fundamental Rights, corruption 
and favouritism of Ministers and officials, and interference by 
members of the ruling Party in administrative and judicial 
matters'. 88 Munshi was chairman of this short-lived body, whose 
premature demise was in part caused by difficulties with the legal 
profession over the question of tendering free legal advice; but the 
main point has nothing to do with its demise or with the fact that 
the body was obviously intended to embarrass the government. 
The main point is that Swatantra, and Munshi, sought to challenge 
the government in this particular fashion, by holding up consti- 
tutional and legal standards as the basis for judgment. 

The second Swatantra body with which Munshi was connected 
was a Swatantra-sponsored committee of inquiry into alleged 
Congress repression of the Akali Sikh agitation in the Punjab. 
Munshi was chairman of this body, too, and was joined here by 


The Swatantra 'Inner Circle'' 

N. C. Chatterjee (former President of the Hindu Mahasabha, and 
a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of India), Sardar Kartar 
Singh Campbellpuri (retired High Court judge, former PEPSU 
state), and C. B. Agarwalla (retired judge, Allahabad High Court, 
and Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of India). Their report 
reveals both Munshi the militant nationalist and Munshi the 
legahst-constitutionalist : there was ample, careful criticism of both 
the agitation and the government's handling of it, but Munshi was 
severely criticized by many Sikhs, in whose view he went beyond 
the terms of the commission to attack the Punjabi suba demand. 89 
It seems fair to conclude that while Munshi does display some 
unbecoming hostility toward certain minority interests, or at least 
a lack of sympathy for their position, he tends very markedly to 
stress constitutional remedies here, as part of a broader legalistic 
strain in his thought. If such an emphasis helps to establish con- 
stitutional morality more securely in India, it is to this extent an 
important 'plus' mark on Munshi's ledger, and on that of the 
party. 90 


Because of Masani's central role in the formulation and propaga- 
tion of Swatantra's formal doctrine (see chapter 8) and in the 
realm of party organization, we shall defer detailed consideration 
of his views until a later point, and then it will be from a different 
angle. However, in addition to radical views in the 1930s, a few 
points should be noted here, which will suffice to point up some of 
the differences between his outlook and those of Rajaji and Munshi. 
First, Masani, with Rajaji, opposed the proposed ban on com- 
munal parties, but he declined to take Rajaji's approach. Masani, 
for his part, expressed his dislike for communalism and for other 
forms of parochialism and sectarianism; but he insisted that a ban 
would be akin to treating the symptoms and not the disease itself. 91 
Most specifically, education (in the broadest sense) to develop a 
sense of secular, national citizenship was, for Masani, the appropri- 
ate course of action. Secondly, in a view also at variance with 
Rajaji, Masani has referred to the joint family system as ' a remnant 
of the primitive tribal community ' which 'had its advantages but 
often led to family discord and encouraged idleness and depen- 
dence even among the able bodied'. 92 There is no concern here 
for the moral discipline which the joint family (or the jati) is 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

presumed to foster; and, if anything, there is a clear implication 
that the effects of the system are pernicious in terms of moral 
development. Implicit here is an individualistic system, in which 
everyone is permitted, encouraged, and perhaps even obliged to 
* sink or swim ' on his own merits. That he is, furthermore, opposed 
to artificial maintenance of cottage industries, Masani has made 
quite explicit; 93 and his reference to the concept of limited liability 
as a 'sacred principle' and to the joint stock company as 'an 
institution invented by the genius of man to increase industrial 
production' further mark him as a spokesman for modern industry 
—and more specifically for private enterprise. 94 His urban, Parsi, 
highly anglicized background, and his association with modern 
capitalism combine to define him as, perhaps, India's leading 
apostle of a chastened classical liberalism (and he is, in fact, a 
patron of the Liberal International). On balance, it is fair to say, 
with Morris-Jones, that no person prominent in Indian public life 
today is more unambiguously modernist than Masani. 95 


From the preceding discussions, it is obvious that Rajaji reaches 
out toward those who defend the idealized village, that Munshi 
reaches out toward the militant nationalists, and that Masani 
reaches out toward the more secular, urban, industrial elements. 
It is also clear, if somewhat less so, that Rajaji pulls back a good 
deal from the prototypical spokesman for the Gandhians and the 
RRP, and that Munshi stays a bit shy of the Jan Sangh. It is also 
important to note that neither was in fact drawn into the Jan 
Sangh or any other pre-Swatantra opposition party, although 
ideologically there was some overlap with one or more of these. 
Munshi has been offered the presidency of the Sangh but has never 
accepted it; Rajaji has addressed Sangh conventions, has written 
for The Organiser, and was in many ways sympathetic to the 
Sangh's cause— but neither, to repeat, turned to this party as the 
principal vehicle for opposition to the Congress. 

More generally, the three Hindus in the inner circle do not 
present a united front. None, certainly, is a defender of aristocratic 
conservatism or of the explicit, hierarchical conservatism of the 
traditional village. As a trio, they cannot be classified as militant 
nationalists, because Rajaji and Ranga balance Munshi here. 


The Swatantra 'Inner Circle' 

Together, they come closer to the 'messiahs of backwardness ' with 
their emphasis on spirituality and the village, but Ranga is quite 
wary of the hierarchical aspect of the village (at least vis-a-vis those 
who are above his caste) and Munshi is more concerned with 
national institutions, national economy, and national strength 
flowing from these, than is Rajaji or Ranga. Of the three, however, 
Munshi finds the least resonance in the party as a whole, leaving 
the Rajaji-Ranga emphasis on the village as more important in this 

It is against this backdrop that the significance of Masani and 
Mody can be partly understood. As Parsis, they serve to balance 
excessive Hinduism. As secularists, they help to tone down exces- 
sive emphasis on religious matters in general. As westernized 
urbanites bound up with modern industry, they are less village- 
oriented and more ' materialistic ' than their colleagues. So, too, they 
find less that is attractive in caste as a social welfare institution and 
in spirituality as a substitute for material progress. This contrast is 
in some respects too sharply drawn, as we shall see subsequently. 
But for the time being we may say that as highly westernized 
and cosmopolitan men, whose 'native' tongue is English, whose 
dress is invariably western, whose style of life is decidedly upper- 
class modern, whose tastes in food and drink deviate from the 
orthodox Hindu norm by the widest margins, whose image of the 
new India draws heavily on the west, and who would perforce be 
disturbed by efforts in either a militant Hindu or village-based 
direction, Masani and Mody help to place the centre of gravity 
of the inner circle in the more moderate part of the political 
spectrum. 96 We shall say more in a later chapter about these 
modern perspectives in the party and about the tensions related 
thereto. For the time, the most important conclusion is that neither 
individually nor collectively could an observer confuse the Swatan- 
tra inner circle with that of an aristocratically based party or with 
those of the RRP, the Mahasabha, or the Jan Sangh. In this 
respect, Swatantra, through its inner circle, does represent some- 
thing new; but to define more precisely just what it is and how well 
it might survive, further issues must be raised. 

One matter which is of obvious importance in gaining a still 
clearer picture of the inner circle and its capacity to build a viable 
party on an essentially moderate basis is the political appeal and 
political power of these leaders, individually and collectively. On 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

this point, we have already seen that there was some doubt about 
the inner circle even among the most highly placed Swatantrites, 
and that by-and-large they were more respected than popular. 
Beyond this, however, we must recognize that as the Congress 
evolved, all of the Swatantra inner circle came to be pushed to the 
fringes of Congress power, albeit in different ways and for different 
reasons. For convenience, we shall term this situation one of ' power 


In the case of Sir Homy Mody, the matter is entirely straight- 
forward. He was never a Congressman and was, for the most part, 
apolitical. In fact, he served on the Viceroy's Council from 1931 to 
1943 and from this vantage point he did battle with a number of 
leading Congressmen— some of them now his colleagues, in 
Swatantra. In addition, he served as Governor of UP after inde- 
pendence. About the most that could be said for Mody and the 
political c mainstream 5 is that he resigned from the Viceroy's 
Council in 1943, in protest against the treatment of Gandhi, and 
that in 1957 he stood for Parliament but was defeated. 

Masani, although very much involved in politics, could not sink 
substantial roots in Indian political life, in part because he was an 
extraordinarily anglicized Parsi. His seat in the Constituent 
Assembly was provided by Patel and in 1957 he was returned to 
Parliament from a tribal district in Bihar, whence his return was 
facilitated by the Jharkand Party leader, Jaipal Singh. There is, 
moreover, the apolitical dimension to his career, i.e. that of 
ambassador to Brazil and representative to the UN. 97 

Rajaji, Munshi, and Ranga, as 'political' Hindus, were much 
more in the mainstream of nationalist activity, but each experienced 
more than a little discomfort. Rajaji, as 'the only South Indian 
leader to achieve nation-wide prominence as a Congress leader', 98 
always felt a bit remote from the seat of national power for 
that very reason, and the rise of non-Brahmin power in Madras 
eventually undermined his local position as well. In addition, 
he seemed quite anxious to remain in office in 1939. but bent 
to the Congress order to terminate his ministry; he resigned 
from the Congress itself, in order to protest against the 'Quit 
India' resolution of 1942, which he regarded as suicidal in the 
face of a possible Japanese invasion; and he, too, moved into 
apolitical positions, including, first and foremost, that of Governor- 
General of India. 


The Swatantra 'Inner Circle' 

Munshi, as we have seen, declined to remain in the Congress 
when Gandhi * captured' it in 1920, though he did rejoin in the 
1930s. Moreover, after rejoining the Congress, he endeavoured to 
revive the Swaraj Party as a constitutionalist wing of the nationalist 
movement, and in the 1940s he withdrew once again from the 
Congress, this time to oppose the Pakistan demand." Throughout 
this long period, he also devoted much time to his legal, literary 
and educational pursuits; and after holding for a time the thank- 
less portfolio of agriculture after independence, he, too, moved to 
an apolitical position — as Governor of UP. 100 

Ranga' s rather unstable political career is in part traceable to the 
fact that he was a Kamma in the Reddy-dominated Andhra Congress, 
but for whatever reason, he was recurrently at the fringe of the 
Andhra power structure. He did achieve the position of President 
of the Andhra Pradesh Congress, but after narrowly losing a bid 
for re-election, in 195 1, Ranga and many of his followers defected 
to form the Krishikar Lok Paksh, which contested the 195 1-2 
elections with some success. 101 Communist successes in Andhra in 
1 95 1-2 led the Congress 'high command' to seek a rapprochement 
with Ranga, and largely on the condition that Ranga be permitted 
to name the candidates for a number of predominantly Kamma 
districts, a Congress-KLP united front was formed, and Ranga was 
virtually back within the fold. Perhaps not very surprisingly, Ranga 
did not gain a position on the APCC executive at this time, although 
his co-operation was rewarded at a different level, when he was 
named Secretary of the Congress Parliamentary party. It was from 
this position that he resigned after the passage of the Nagpur 
Resolution. 102 

Not too much should be made of these facts, but it is fair to say 
that for a variety of reasons all of those in the Swatantra inner 
circle became ' power-marginal ' as they personally and the Congress 
developed over the years. This is suggested by the executive 
positions which they have held. It is this fact which has given rise 
to the frequently heard but largely irrelevant wail that they are 
'frustrated power-seekers' and nothing more. 103 It is far more 
important here to observe that they have all had difficulty in 
sinking and/or sustaining roots in Indian political party life and to 
try to understand what this in turn suggests about the future of the 
party. Could such people be expected to mobilize a mass following 
to oppose the Congress? Masani was concerned about the presence 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

of Menon and Hegde as 'joint secretaries' for this reason and he 
was determined to 'politicize' the inner circle of the party. But 
there is reason to believe that even the new inner circle lacks a good 
deal that might be required to build a new party. 104 

In concluding this discussion of the Swatantra inner circle, 
especially in light of its apparent 'power marginality' and present 
lack of mass appeal, it is pertinent to point out that at the 'pre- 
paratory convention' in Bombay, portraits of Gandhi, Patel, and 
Tilak were chosen to adorn the platform on which Swatantra's 
leaders appeared. It is possible to explain this quite simply. 
Everyone must pay homage to Gandhi; there is genuine regard for 
Patel among Swatantrites, who appreciate his tough, law-and-order, 
anti-socialist approach; and it was the time of the birthday of Tilak, 
whose famous 'Swaraj is my birthright' commends itself almost 
universally in India. Furthermore, all three were local giants- 
Gandhi and Patel from Gujarat, Tilak from Maharashtra. Perhaps 
the simplest explanation is the best, but one of the organizers of the 
convention acknowledged that the choice of Tilak was, in his 
words, 'Machiavellian', because of the popular image his name 
would evoke. 105 Was Swatantra, by this choice, trying to link itself 
more to the mainstream of Hindu nationalism than its own elite is 
able to do? Was Swatantra attempting to modify its own image 
as a party led by old, frustrated, often apolitical people? The 
admission about Tilak suggests that this might have been the case, 
and one might want to speculate about what this means with 
respect to the leaders' own self-image. At least for the adventure- 
some investigator, it would seem possible to get some clues about 
Swatantra not only from the distinguished living but also from 
some knowledge of the revered dead. 




The Swatantra inner circle confronted a host of pressing problems, 
as it prepared for the 1962 general elections, a short i\ years 
distant. Organization, finance, dissemination of propaganda, 
popularization of the electoral symbol, and adjustments with 
other parties were formidable tasks, particularly in view of the 
party's stated aim of building an effective, national opposition to 
the Congress. 

The first task, of course, was to rally the potential faithful, and 
here Swatantra had a number of alternatives. It could attempt to 
build its own cadres and mass membership from ' scratch \ It could 
attempt to capitalize on available * vote banks ', i.e. locally dominant 
caste groups and local notables. It could attempt to absorb existing 
parties and to pry loose some elements from the Congress, using 
whatever formal and informal organizations these might provide. 
Once it had achieved some support, it could seek to take maximum 
advantage of its own strength by restricting its efforts on the one 
hand and by seeking to avoid undesirable multi-cornered con- 
tests on the other. Not surprisingly, Swatantra operated on all these 

In seeking to build an effective opposition to the Congress, 
Swatantra had to decide whose support would be welcomed. 
Would any and all anti-Congress elements be greeted with open 
arms, or would Swatantra be discriminating in admitting people 
into its fold? The answer here depended in part on the leaders' 
sense of urgency in checking the Congress and on their ability to 
mobilize large numbers of people on the basis of their own party 
programme. A feeling of intense urgency, coupled with an inability 
to propagate effectively Swatantra doctrine, would encourage 
an 'open-door' policy. The reverse conditions would be more 
favourable to a process of selective admission. 

In this chapter, we shall trace the growth of Swatantra, particu- 
larly during the period 1959-62, by indicating the existing parties 
which merged with it, caste groups which gave it support, and 



The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

other groups and individuals who rallied to the party banner. 
Their doctrinal commitments will also be discussed. In the follow- 
ing chapter, the interaction of the major components of the 
Swatantra coalition will be considered. 


Given the available, localized discontent, it was only natural that 
Swatantra leaders should try to absorb many existing opposition 
forces, as a short cut to electoral strength and as a means of 
rationalizing the opposition to the Congress. Swatantra doctrine 
encouraged the hesitant, parochial forces by giving them virtual 
carte blanche on all issues not defined by the party as ' fundamental ' 
to the anti-statist programme. 1 Rajaji's presence, the prospect of 
Bombay money, and a possibility of some national prominence 
represented further inducements, doubtless more significant. 

At the outset there was, however, a good deal of doubt that the 
parochialism of many of the existing opposition parties could be 
overcome. One leading Indian journalist argued that a potent 
challenge to the Congress was unlikely, in part because * where 
there are local parties, like the Jharkand Party of Bihar, or the 
Ganatantra Parishad of Orissa, they attach to their local status far 
more importance than their national loyalties and are desperately 
anxious to maintain a rigid local position which prevents their 
emerging into a national party which may conceivably need to 
compromise for Coalition at the Centre 5 . He added, in anticipation 
of the 1962 elections, that 'because of the failure of the middle 
parties— the Praja Socialist, Swatantra, and Jana Sangh, and other 
local parties, the Jharkand, the Ganatantra Parishad, Ram Rajya 
Parishad, the Tamilnad Democratic Party and so on— to merge, 
the Congress Party's ascendancy should not be in question 5 . 2 In- 
deed, Congress ascendancy in 1962 was not in question, and here 
da Costa was quite right. But Swatantra did make an almost 
herculean effort in the direction of a united opposition and achieved 
considerable success. It is also fair to say that most of the blame for 
the fragmentation which did persist cannot be laid at its door. 

The first merger, according to official sources, was that of the 
the Indian National Democratic Congress (INDC) of Madras, 3 
whose General-Secretary, S. S. Mariswamy, announced at the 
preparatory convention : 


The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 

I am the General- Secretary of that Indian Democratic Party which was 
formed two years ago on the eve of the elections to fight mainly against 
Congress candidates. We contested 46 seats and we managed to capture 
23 seats. Our party is now functioning in the local legislature as the major 
official opposition party. When the news came that Rajaji had started 
this party, all the members of the party unanimously agreed to join 
hands with the newly formed Swatantra Party. 4 

In spite of this seemingly decisive statement, some INDC leaders 
obviously did not consider themselves to be Swatantrites and there 
was even some question about the actual extent of merger. 5 None 
the less, the principal leaders of the Madras unit have for the most 
part been former INDC men— e.g. H. Venkatakrishna Reddiar, 
the first state President; Saw Ganesan, the incumbent President; 
and Maris wamy, the incumbent General- Secretary — although 
Reddiar, among others, withdrew from Swatantra in the early 
stages. 6 Thus, the leading opposition group in Madras, as of 1959, 
cast its lot with Swatantra. 

The centre of gravity of the INDC lay among upper middle 
castes, such as Chettiars, Mudaliars, and Naidus, whose position 
in the Congress had waned with the broadening of the party's 
social base under Kamaraj. Coupled with Rajaji's appeal for 
Brahmins, 7 whose political fortunes had dropped precipitously as a 
result of lower caste pressure both inside and outside the Congress, 
the presence of the INDC gave Swatantra in Madras a decidedly 
upper-caste complexion — or, in the words of one hostile source, 
Swatantra was 'the forum only of conservative Brahmins and 
profit-minded baniyas \ 8 However, many of the INDC men had 
only shortly before been in the forefront of the effort to oust 
Rajaji as the head of the Madras Congress; and this will not be 
the only instance of former political enemies finding a common 
home in the Swatantra Party. 

This upper caste image in Madras was in some districts offset 
partially by the later entry of S. S. Ramaswamy Padayachi, a 
leader of the Tamilnad Toilers' Party, who announced his group's 
desire to join Swatantra 'for the purpose of achieving further 
prominence and thereby serving our community better'. 9 The 
community in question was the Vanniyars, a group of lower but up- 
wardly mobile castes of agriculturalists, who, as a result of their 
inability to penetrate the Congress when Rajaji was still at its 
helm (and even for a time after), developed two political parties, 



The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

the Tamiinad Toilers' and Commonweal. The local successes of 
these two parties led ultimately to their absorption in the Congress 
and to the inclusion of Padayachi and other Vanniyars in the 
state ministry or other high posts. However, Padayachi and other 
Vanniyar leaders still felt that they had been insufficiently accom- 
modated and withdrew from the Congress, although only a segment 
of them turned to Swatantra, thus joining hands with two erst- 
while adversaries, Rajaji and the INDC. 10 

Wavering for a time on the brink of merger was the Forward 
Bloc of Madras, based on the highly communal Thevar group which 
was reasonably strong, and in some places dominant, in a few 
districts in the southern part of the state. No merger occurred, 
although there was close co-operation between the Forward Bloc 
and Swatantra in some districts; and the late Forward Bloc leader, 
U. M. Thevar, did associate himself with the Swatantra group in 
the Lok Sabha. 11 All told, Swatantra seemed to have made a good 
start in the home state of its founder-leader. 

Another existing party which merged with Swatantra at the 
outset was the Janata Party of Bihar, at that time the third largest 
party in the state. The Janata leader, the Raja of Ramgarh, was, as 
we have seen, a prominent zamin Jar-businessman and a Rajput, 
though not of the highest status. An energetic and skilful political 
organizer, the Raja had for a long time entertained higher political 
ambitions than the leadership of a small local party and he was 
always looking for new ways to carry on his vendetta against the 
architect of Bihar's zamindari abolition act, K. B. Sahay. 12 Unable 
at the time to pursue either goal effectively through the Congress 
(which he was by no means averse to joining on the proper terms) 
or through Janata, the Raja saw an opportunity in the Swatantra 
Party. Thus, as a participant at the preparatory convention, 
Ramgarh announced: 

I represent the Janata Party at this convention. We have in the Assembly 
today 23 members. . .and in Parliament we have four members... 
When I received the invitation, we were all very happy in Bihar, that 
the day has now come for a unified opposition, not only in one state 
but throughout the country. I have been sent here as an observer, and 
the views that have been expressed. . .have really inspired me. I can 
assure you that the Janata Party of Bihar will decide to co-operate 
wholeheartedly with you and we shall be able to give you a Swatantra 
Party Government in the State of Bihar. 13 


The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 

The Raja's promise of a Swatantra government in Bihar in 1962 
was far-fetched, although he certainly pursued that goal with un- 
common zeal verging on ruthlessness. This apart, the Janata 
merger had the immediate effect of giving Swatantra a small 
contingent in the Lok Sabha (and in the Bihar assembly), to stand 
behind Masani, Ranga, and a few other MPs who had joined them. 14 
In addition, it brought into Swatantra one of the most energetic 
political organizers in Bihar, if not in all of India, in the person of 
Ramgarh, who was almost immediately co-opted to a position as 
national Vice-President, with Munshi. 

Also merging from Bihar, at a later date, was the Jan Congress, 
a group of dissident Congressmen with a tiny legislative con- 
tingent, led by Jankinandan Singh, who was a member of the 
Bihar Legislative Council (MLC). The latter was the uncle of 
the late Maharajadhiraj of Darbhanga, who was the leader of the 
Maithil Brahmin community and formerly the premier zamindar 
in Bihar. Together with Ramgarh's entry, this further reinforced 
the landed, aristocratic complexion of Swatantra in Bihar and 
further bolstered Swatantra's hopes in the state, 15 although of the 
two groups Janata was by far the more important. 

Encouraging on the face of it, too, were the decisions of two 
veteran Congressmen, Paliwal and Nagoke, to join Swatantra in 
UP and the Punjab, respectively, and to bring with them modest, 
semi-organized groups of supporters. Paliwal, who left the Congress 
in 1 95 1, had for fifteen years been either President or General-Sec- 
retary of the UP Congress, had sat in the Central Legislative Council 
prior to independence and in the state Cabinet afterwards. He was, 
then, a man who had been a local power. Nagoke, who left the 
Congress only after the Nagpur Resolution, was one of the most 
senior Congressmen in the Punjab and was, moreover, a former 
leader of the Akali Sikhs, a very potent minority in that (now 
bifurcated) state. As a veteran leader who had served very long 
terms in jail prior to independence, Nagoke was widely esteemed. 

Paliwal, in his own self-description, cited his long association 
with and admiration for Rajaji and Ranga and his long-standing 
opposition to Nehru and the latter's brand of socialism. Stressing 
his ' cent-percent Gandhism', Paliwal pointed with pride and de- 
light to the fact that in the mid- 1940s he was labelled by the CPI as 
one of the * three evil Ps'— Patel and S. K. Patil being the other 
two — among the prominent Congressmen of the day. 16 

8 1*3 ESP 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

As a result of familiar factional battles, involving the inevitable 
charges of corruption and favouritism against some highly placed 
colleagues, Paliwal came to be isolated from the UP Congress 
leadership; and neither Nehru nor Pandit Pant seemed responsive 
to his charge that a leading Cabinet member in UP had stolen 
1 many lakhs' of rupees. In addition, Paliwal's marriage to a 
Muslim lady brought forth a stream of abuse from some of his 
colleagues, contributing to the widening breach. After first leaving 
the state Cabinet and then the party itself, Paliwal sat in the 
assembly and led a group of independents (variously estimated at 
between twenty and thirty-five) in the UP assembly— the so-called 
' Independent Progressive Legislature Party'— and he was in the 
process of organizing an extra-parliamentary party, the Gram 
Raj (Village Rule) Party, whose principal tenets were rule by rural 
people and opposition to co-operative farming. A very staunch 
anti-socialist, anti-communalist, and anti-aristocrat, Paliwal de- 
cided to cast his lot, too, with Swatantra, which, in his view, repre- 
sented a combination of Gandhism and modern capitalism, with 
(it must be noted) too much of the latter for his liking. 17 Thus, the 
IPLP and the Gram Raj Party were also merged with Swatantra, 18 
and soon, thereafter, Paliwal was also co-opted to serve as Vice- 
President, with Munshi and Ramgarh. 

Nagoke, highly respected but not a political power in 1959, 
explained that his connection with the Congress was not broken 
4 in any light-hearted manner'; but the Nagpur Resolution was, in 
his view, a menace which had to be opposed by leaving the 
Congress: ' We consider ourselves morally bound to announce our 
disapproval of this policy by resigning from the Congress, before 
the country is actually driven to economic disaster.' 19 To structure 
his anti-collectivist protest, Nagoke formed the Dehati Janata 
Party (Rural Peoples' Party), which, at the outset, was intended 
to be solely a vehicle to oppose the Nagpur Resolution, without, 
however, contesting elections itself or giving support to any one 
political party. 20 This non-partisan approach was quickly discarded, 
however, in part due to pressure from Ranga. 

The Dehati Janata Party received some support from members 
of the Sikh ruling family of Patiala, which gave it a boost in that 
area. It was described by one source as ' landlord-led and anti- 
collectivist but fairly influential', 21 and by another as a Natural 
extension into politics of the forces of tradition in the village— the 


The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 

big zamindar, his associates in commerce and such of his tenants 
as were tied to him by personal or caste loyalties \ 22 Thus., in the 
Punjab, too, Swatantra gained some support and once again it was 
landed and conservative (although the term zamindar in the Punjab 
does not have the same connotations as it would in Bihar, for 
example). Two Sikhs, Nagoke (until his death in January 1966) 
and Basant Singh, served as state President and General- Secretary, 
respectively; but it is significant that both had abandoned open 
association with the Akali Dal in favour of less communal, eco- 
nomics-oriented channels of protest. For a short time, until his 
death, Nagoke also served as a Vice-President of the national 
party. 23 

The most significant merger was that of the Ganatantra Pari- 
shad, which 'unanimously decided to merge with the Swatantra 
Party' in mid-November 1961. 24 The actual merger did not take 
place, however, until after the 1962 general elections, but the 
Swatantra Party contributed to the Parishad's campaign treasury 
and considered the latter' s candidates as its own. 

From the time Swatantra was born, efforts were made to bring 
the Parishad into the fold; and, as we have seen, the Maharaja of 
Kalahandi was among those who had approached Rajaji prior to 
1959, concerning the possibility of forming a broader opposition 
party. 25 Ramgarh, among others, negotiated on behalf of Swatan- 
tra, but the early efforts proved unavailing; and any intimation 
that there would be a merger was usually met with prompt and 
emphatic denials by Parishad leaders. For a time, in fact, it was 
strongly suggested that the Parishad would merge with the 
Congress (which would virtually have obliterated the opposition 
in Orissa). 26 

Until 1 96 1, there was an obvious and understandable reason for 
the failure of merger talks and for the posture adopted by the 
Parishad: the Parishad was in a coalition ministry with the 
Congress in Orissa and thus had a share of power in the state. Both 
Parishad and Swatantra leaders felt that from this vantage point the 
Parishad could do more to stabilize its position in the highlands 
and perhaps to extend its influence to the coastal regions (where it 
was virtually impotent) than it could by leaving the coalition and 
joining Swatantra. It is not surprising, then, that the Parishad 
leaders wanted to assure the Congress in the strongest possible 
language that no merger with Swatantra was contemplated. Swa- 

115 8-2 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

tantra, for its part, confined its organization in Orissa to the 
coastal region; and even when Kalahandi said that rumours of a 
merger were ' baseless ', Swatantra happily refrained from challeng- 
ing the Parishad in any fashion. 27 

The situation changed drastically when the coalition ministry 
was terminated in 1961, as a result of Patnaik's determination to 
have the Congress dissociate itself from 'feudal 5 elements and 
establish itself more securely as an independent force in the state. 
This put the Parishad out of office and forced it to confront mid- 
term elections, for the state assembly only. It was at this juncture 
that serious negotiations were renewed, bringing Swatantra and the 
Parishad more openly and more closely together. 

In this setting a variety of rumours was circulated. One was 
that the Parishad 'may seek the help of the Swatantra Party' in 
the mid-term elections, in return for Parishad support for four 
Swatantra Lok Sabha candidates in the 1962 general elections. 28 
What is clear is that the Swatantra unit in Orissa wanted to 
contest the mid-term elections on a wide basis, leaving the high- 
lands to the Parishad; but the Swatantra central office refused to 
countenance this and authorized only one Swatantrite to contest. 29 
Efforts to reach an accord were unsuccessful at this stage, even 
though the Parishad felt at a disadvantage vis-a-vis the Congress, 
particularly in a mid-term election, where the ruling party could 
concentrate all of its efforts on this one state. 30 

The results of the mid-term elections gave further impetus to 
Parishad leaders to seek closer co-operation with Swatantra. 
Although the Parishad lost many seats by very narrow margins, 
and although the party's leaders knew that the Congress would 
not be able to concentrate its forces as fully in general elections, 
they still did not feel at all confident about the future. What 
troubled the Parishad the most was Patnaik, who was seemingly 
intransigent concerning future coalitions (unnecessary after the 
mid-term elections, in any event), who was personally wealthy, and 
who, in the words of one Parishad leader, controlled 'the keys to a 
vast treasury'. 31 The future thus looked less bright than the past, 
not only for the Parishad but also for some of the Congress 'old 
guard' in Orissa; and it was at this juncture, as we shall see below, 
that Rajaji referred to the possible entry into Swatantra of the 
displaced Chief Minister of Orissa, Harekrushna Mahtab. 

The renewed Swatantra-Parishad talks 'were satisfactory' at all 


The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 

stages, and the decision to merge was announced at the Parishad 
convention, which found the principles of the Swatantra Party 
* remarkably similar to the ideals of the Ganatantra Parishad'. 32 
The main reason given for the decision was the need for a united 
opposition at the centre, to * arrest the growing menace of the 
Congress Party'. 33 It is pertinent to point out, however, both in 
light of the Parishad statement and in light of da Costa's remarks 
about parochialism, that many of the Parishad leaders had some 
reservations about the merger. One expressed concern because 
Swatantra, in his view, had a less progressive image than did the 
Parishad, and he was particularly distressed by the 'free enter- 
prise' image which Swatantra had acquired. On both ideological 
and practical gounds, this man thought that a bit more * socialism' 
would help. Still, he said that * a small party cannot tell a big party 
what to do . . . We were not happy with parts of the programme but 
could do nothing.' 34 Many felt that they would not be able to 
emphasize local issues as much as they had done in the past; and, 
for example, Parishad leaders pressed Swatantra, unsuccessfully, 
to make an explicit commitment in favour of redrawing state 
boundaries so that all Oriya-speaking peoples would be under 
Orissa jurisdiction. 35 None the less, most seemed to agree with 
Kalahandi, who said that in the final analysis ' Swatantra means 
independent, and we are all pretty much independent ' with respect 
to local issues. 36 Thus, the second strongest party in Orissa and a 
reasonably serious contender for power in that state sought 
refuge under the ' all-India umbrella which Rajaji supplied', 
hoping, in part, that more ample funds would be available to battle 
the Patnaik-led Orissa Congress. 37 

Elsewhere, mergers, or alinement almost indistinguishable from 
merger, also helped to provide support, but of much more modest 
dimensions, prior to the 1962 elections. Raja Anand Chand of 
Bilaspur, a sitting MP (Rajya Sabha) and a relative of the Raja of 
Ramgarh, joined Swatantra and brought with him the Himachal 
Pradesh Sanyutka Morcha, an anti-Congress front which con- 
trolled a bloc of seats in the Himachal Pradesh territorial council. 38 
Ranga attracted remnants of the KLP, a party dominated by 
Kemma landed interests in the Andhra delta; and the Andhra 
Democratic Party (a melange of ex-Congressmen, ex-Justiceites, 
ex-KLPers, etc.) split upon the formation of Swatantra, with some 
joining the new party. Although by 1959 there was no Justice 




The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

Party, a number of landed ex-Justiceites from Andhra did join the 
party; and among them was Swatantra's first state President, 
B. Ramachandra Reddy, once a CBE, who had been in the Justice 
Party from 1923 to 1952, head of the Madras Legislative Council 
from 1930 to 1937, and a prime mover in the AIAF. 39 

The KLP and Ranga personally had some supporters in 
Rajasthan and Gujarat, and some of these also joined Swatantra. 
In the Bharatpur area of Rajasthan, the old KLP had some 
influence among Jat peasants and had some support from the 
former ruling family of the Jat state of Bharatpur. In Gujarat, there 
were some small local parties and dissident groups, including the 
Saurashtra khedut sangh, which drew primarily on landed peasants; 
and among these Gujarat elements were some locally influential 
Patidars, whose caste brethren dominate the Gujarat Congress. 40 
From other corners came assorted factions, fractions, splinter 
groups, and the like; but in no case was the strength of any one of 
these groups sufficient to assure Swatantra of even a good, localized 
electoral showing. 

Through the Ganatantra Parishad, Janata, etc., Swatantra 
inherited existing political organizations, although in some 
cases the term ' organization' is decidedly generous. 41 The past 
electoral performance of these groups (and, in particular, the 
residual influence of the aristocracy) also augured well for the new 
party. Given the short time in which Swatantra could go to the 
electorate on its own terms and through a new, independently 
created organization, such support was indispensable, if the party 
were to make a good showing in the 1962 elections and thereby to 
encourage others to join. 

Of great importance, too, in this effort was the support given to 
Swatantra by certain caste associations, some of which did not have 
an explicit political party ' front'. Here, however, distinctions are 
far from neat and sharp. The Vanniyars of Madras created two 
parties to serve as their political vehicles, and it is often said that the 
Janata Party was nothing more than a vehicle for Ramgarh's caste 
and business interests. But the kshatrya makasabha in Rajasthan 
relied heavily on the RRP, although the RRP was not created by 
the mahasabha or for that purpose. In other cases, the connection 
between a caste group and a specific party is even more tenuous. 

The most conspicuous and the most important of the caste 
groups which turned to Swatantra were the Rajput and, more 


The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 

generally, kshatrya associations in northern India. At one point or 
another the following groups all allegedly urged support for the 
Swatantra Party : the kshatrya mahasabha and bhooswami sangh in 
Madhya Pradesh; the Rajput Brotherhood of Pathankot and the 
Zamindara League in the Punjab; and the Kutch Rajput Sabha, 
the Saurashtra Girasdars' Association, and the kshatrya mahasabha 
in Gujarat. 42 And at the all-India kshatrya mahasabha conference 
in May 1960, the presiding officer, the Maharawal of Dungarpur 
(Rajasthan), encouraged support for the Swatantra Party, which he 
himself had joined; and the conference as a whole reportedly 
endorsed his plea. 43 Most of these groups were heavily dominated 
by, if not comprised exclusively of landed Rajputs, and collectively 
they reinforced the aristocratic, upper-caste, landed component 
of Swatantra in the northern states. Here, however, Gujarat 
requires special note, because, in addition to Rajputs of high 
status who dominated their areas (as in Kutch), there were many 
lesser Rajputs, often impoverished tenants from Patidar- dominated 
areas in the central part of the state. Moreover, the Rajput leader- 
ship of the kshatrya mahasabha, especially Narendrasingh Mahida, 
had welcomed into the organization a large number of non-Rajputs 
and accorded them kshatrya status. The latter included many 
ritually and economically lower status elements, whose entry — 
often opposed by the 'big' Rajputs — broadened the social base of 
the kshatrya mahasabha and, therefore, of Swatantra, by bringing 
into the party lower caste elements on an essentially non-derivative 
basis. In some cases, the * little' Rajputs and those whom they 
embraced as fellow kshatryas strongly favoured precisely those 
land reforms which were opposed by the 'big' Rajputs, in Gujarat 
and elsewhere. 44 

In some ways, the case of the Gujarat kshatrya mahasabha 
parallels that of the Vanniyars. There was much pressure for Con- 
gress tickets, beneficial programmes, etc., and there was for a time 
a very close association between Mahida (and the mahasabha 
generally) and the Congress. However, the Gujarat Congress did 
not satisfactorily accommodate the kshatryas, whose numerical 
strength was steadily increasing through recruitment. Frustrated 
by the Congress in 1957 and after, they turned eventually to 
Swatantra, where they found much greater opportunity, on the 
whole, to move into leading positions, to secure tickets, etc. 45 In 
addition, they found in Swatantra a political vehicle which had 



The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

been selected by other Rajputs in other states; and this 'outside' 
factor, overlooked by those who have analysed the Gujarat ksha- 
tryas, also played a part in drawing the Gujarat group into the 
new party. 46 

By and large, Swatantra did not benefit from substantial bloc 
support in the southern states, and neither the Swatantra Newsletter 
nor Link, both of which for different reasons dutifully record such 
support, contains more than fleeting references to such a phe- 
nomenon. The southern units of the party, particularly in Andhra 
and Mysore, have been built around smaller nuclei of landed 
interests, some of whom had been associated with local parties 
and/or the AI AF, and some of whom were able to ' deliver ' part of 
the lower caste vote in their areas. 47 Disorganized Brahmin groups 
also gave some support. In Andhra, however, a highly respected 
harijan leader and a disciple of Ranga's, G. Latchanna (now state 
President), chose to follow Ranga into Swatantra rather than to 
remain in the Congress, where he was quite welcome. Latchanna's 
following among certain harijan groups introduces a low caste 
element into the Andhra unit, although it is generally conceded 
that the party's strength in Andhra, such as it is, derives primarily 
from the aforementioned landed interests. 48 It is well to remember, 
however, that not all of Swatantra's support is upper caste and that 
not all of its lower caste support comes to it on a derivative basis, 
i.e. through local notables. 


Further along the continuum ranging from organized parties to the 
'common man' were many eminent individuals who had some 
local appeal, at least. For present purposes, these may be cate- 
gorized as follows: (i) aristocrats; (2) non-aristocratic 'old 
warriors' from the Congress; (3) non-aristocratic, non-Congress 
old warriors; and (4) a broad and somewhat amorphous group of 
former administrators. We shall consider each of these in turn but 
will start with the aristocrats for two reasons. First, because of the 
prominence of aristocrats among the leaders of certain merged 
parties and of the major caste groups which turned to Swatantra, 
consideration of the aristocrats here follows logically from what 
has preceded. Secondly, because traditional loyalties still persisted 
over wide areas, the aristocrats— and notably the major ex-rulers— 


The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 

were important 'vote banks', indeed in many cases exceeding the 
capacity of some of the organized parties to help Swatantra. 

As the experiences in 1951-2 and 1957 showed, the aristocrats 
had abundant support in their areas, although relatively few were 
active and prominent politically, Moreover, because of caste and 
family ties, a successful appeal to one ruler could set off something 
of a limited ' chain reaction '. With this large group of vote banks 
available, it is not surprising that Swatantra looked hopefully to the 
aristocracy, to secure candidates or at least open support, while 
for the same reason, the Congress sought to keep the aristocrats 
neutral, at least. The struggle was prolonged, tense, and often 
bitter. The pitched battle was fought in Rajasthan over the great 
houses of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bikaner, and one or two 
others, but there were more than minor skirmishes in parts of 
Bihar (especially over Darbhanga), in Gujarat (especially in Kutch 
and Saurashtra), in the Punjab (particularly over Patiala), and in 
parts of UP, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra. 

With few exceptions— Ramgarh, the late Raja Raghavendra 
Pratap Singh of Mankapur (UP), and a handful of others— the 
list of participants at the preparatory convention reveals few 
aristocratic names, and those who did attend were certainly not 
among the most eminent ex-rulers and ex-landlords. 49 Even the 
states which were the bastions of the aristocracy before indepen- 
dence were represented very largely by commoners, and there is no 
evidence to indicate that the actual participants were in any way 
agents for aristocratic interests. 

Very shortly after its inception, however, the aristocrats started 
to evince greater interest in Swatantra, and vice versa, and it was 
not long before a fairly steady trickle from this quarter flowed 
into the party. To anticipate one of the main points, however, the 
outcome was disappointing from the Swatantra standpoint. Rela- 
tively few aristocrats entered the party, and those who did were 
primarily of lesser status or were relatives of leading families. Few 
leading ex-rulers chose to aline themselves, at least openly, with 
the party. 

Of the early entrants from this group, Ramgarh, by virtue of 
his position in the Janata Party, was by far the most important. 
The Raja of Mankapur, a smaller zamindar and a Congressman 
from 1930 to 1955, had served in the UP assembly continuously 
since 1937 an d brought much political skill and experience as well as 



The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

great local influence, into the party. 50 Raja Bhalindra Singh and 
Raja Maheshindra Singh, the younger brother and uncle of the 
ex-ruler of Patiala, respectively, attended the preparatory 
convention and quickly joined the party, which buoyed Swa- 
tantra's hopes around Patiala. Raja Kalyan Singh of Bhinai, a 
Rajput jagirdar who had previously been associated with both the 
RRP and Jan Sangh in Rajasthan, and Maharajkumar Hukam 
Singh of Jaisalmer, also in Rajasthan, both attended the conven- 
tion and also joined the party at an early date. 

In Rajasthan, Bhinai and the Maharajkumar of Jaisalmer took 
the lead, with the former as ' convenor ' of the state unit, but joining 
and superseding them very quickly were Maharawal Laxman 
Singh of Dungarpur, Maharawal Chandra Vir Singh of Banswara, 
and Raja Man Singh of Bharatpur, the brother of the ex-ruler of 
this Jat state. The major Rajput houses remained aloof, however. 51 
In UP, Mankapur was immediately joined by Raja Mahendra 
Ripudaman Singh of Bhadawar and later by Raja Ram Singh of 
Gangwal, helping to give Swatantra some pockets of strength in 
the northern part of that state. 52 From Madhya Pradesh came 
Rajkumar Udaisingh of Kaluhera and a Brahmin landholder named 
N. C. Zamindar, who over-optimistically asserted that the party had 
great appeal in some of the state's * feudal constituencies'. 53 Some 
of these were certainly influential on a local level and some were 
reasonably seasoned politicians. This was to Swatantra's good, but 
for several months the roster of aristocrats did not include any of 
the leading families, save perhaps the well-known house of Patiala. 
But even Patiala was not represented by the ex-ruler himself. 

In this light, the prize * catch' and a principal catalyst in the 
entire struggle for the aristocracy was the beautiful Maharani 
Gayatri Devi of Jaipur, whose entry into the party was dutifully 
announced in January 1961 by the jagirdar Man Singh (Mahar), 
formerly with the RRP. With the Maharani came two of the Maha- 
rajkumars of Jaipur (Jai Singh and Prithviraj) and a number of 
leading Rajput jagirdars, some of them with more than a little 
trepidation. 54 Even this development should not be overestimated. 
The Maharani is not herself from Rajasthan, and hence does not 
have the same appeal for Rajasthan aristocrats that a native would 
have. In addition, she does not speak Hindi (or the local variant 
thereof) fluently and this helps to mark her further as an outsider. 
Finally, the Maharaja of Jaipur steadfastly proclaimed that he 


The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 

could best serve ' his ' people by remaining ' above politics \ as an 
independent. 55 Yet a major royal house had associated itself with 
Swatantra, and few would believe that the Maharaja did not en- 
dorse his wife's activities. Furthermore, after some Congress 
tirades against the Jaipur family during the election campaign, the 
Maharaja himself took a more active part in supporting anti-Con- 
gress candidates, although he continued to remain an independent. 

The impact of the Maharani's entry cannot be stressed too 
strongly, even considering the caveats just mentioned. Her 
political debut came on the heels of the Jaipur ' durbar ' in honour 
of Queen Elizabeth II, for which former rulers and landed aristo- 
crats come from far and wide to participate in a massive display 
of pomp and pageantry. Many saw in this event demonstrable proof 
that the old aristocracy was still strongly attached to its old ways 
and they speculated that it presaged a resurgence of the great royal 
families. 56 This would have been less upsetting to the Congress 
leaders, both state and national, were it not for the realization that 
the aristocrats still had great appeal and were it not for the painful 
awareness that in the 1952 elections, the Maharaja of Jodhpur led 
an anti- Congress, aristocratic front (principally RRP, Jan Sangh, 
and independents) which nearly swept the Congress from office. 57 
The Maharani's entry, then, conjured up the image of another 
aristocratic assault on the Congress, and there were few who were 
confident that the Congress in Rajasthan could withstand such an 
assault. As one source aptly put it after the Maharani's decision 
was announced, ' the feudal snowball threatens to be turning into 
an avalanche'. 58 

All of this scarcely took the Congress by surprise, and there was 
evidence of considerable anxiety in Congress circles, in Rajasthan 
and elsewhere. Discussions were held by Congress MPs, by the 
AICC, and other bodies, to consider a possible ban on princely 
participation in politics or else possible adjustments in the privy 
purses. Open and private threats concerning the purses abounded, 
although in Orissa, where the Congress assemblymen were con- 
sidering an end to all privy purses, Morarji Desai insisted that 
such talk should stop and that all historic assurances to the princes 
be honoured. 59 According to the Maharani of Jaipur, she had been 
asked to contest a Lok Sabha seat in 1957 on a Congress ticket, to 
help fend off anti-Congress activity by the Rajput aristocracy; and, 
in addition, Rajasthan Chief Minister Sukhadia had worked hard 



The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

for many months to dissuade the aristocracy, including the Maha- 
rani, from opposing the Congress. 60 Among the more serious 
moves to stem a possible anti-Congress Rajput tide was the inclu- 
sion in Sukhadia's Cabinet of Maharaja Harishchandra of 
Jhalawar, a Rajput and the only one in the ministry. 61 The serious- 
ness with which the Congress took the Maharani's subsequent 
decision to contest a Lok Sabha seat is suggested by the fact that 
for a time her scheduled Congress opponent was Damodarlal Vyas, 
the Revenue Minister in the state Cabinet and one of the strongest 
candidates upon whom the Rajasthan Congress could call. 62 

Thus, even in i960 the battle for the aristocracy was going on, 
but after the Maharani's entry it took on new intensity. On the 
Swatantra side it was hoped that the association of the house of 
Jaipur with the party would win over other major families, and the 
latter were pursued with renewed vigour. In fact, Dungarpur, 
Swatantra state President, pursued some rulers so assiduously that 
other forms of ' organizing ' the party were virtually neglected. 63 

Throughout this battle, in Rajasthan and elsewhere, ties of 
family and caste played an important part. Ramgarh and Bilaspur 
were related, as we have seen; Dungarpur was Bikaner's father-in- 
law; the Maharaja of Devgadh-Baria (a major recruit in eastern 
Gujarat) was the son-in-law of the Maharaja of Jaipur; and so on. 64 
In addition to the attempted exploitation of these connections, 
Udaisingh of Kaluhera sent a written appeal to most of the leading 
aristocrats in Madhya Pradesh urging them to join the party; 65 
Dungarpur joined Bhailalbhai Patel in efforts to mobilize the 
aristocracy in Gujarat; Dungarpur and others used kshatrya 
mahasabha and Rajput sabha platforms to encourage support for 
Swatantra; and V. P. Menon became as much of a roving ambas- 
sador to the princes as his poor health would allow. 

The long and tedious story— of pulling and hauling, of entry 
and defection, of the almost countless claims and denials of entry- 
need not detain us here, beyond a few important cases and a few 
general points. In Bihar, Maharajadhiraj Kameshwar Singh of 
Darbhanga was eagerly sought by Swatantra, and, as an inde- 
pendent candidate for the Rajya Sabha, he had been assured by 
Ramgarh of the support of the Swatantra (nee Janata) MLAs in that 
state. Some of Darbhanga's friends and relatives, like Jankinandan 
Singh of the Jan Congress/ Swatantra and Munshi, pressed him to 
join the party, while others urged him just as strongly to remain 


The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 

independent or to join the Congress. Swatantra itself was proceed- 
ing with somewhat less than unilinear purpose, for the Swatantra 
state Treasurer — wealthy businessman Parmanand Kejriwal — was 
also a candidate for the Rajya Sabha, even though Darbhanga had 
been promised Swatantra's support. Kejriwal was finally prevailed 
upon to withdraw, but Darbhanga still vacillated and did not join 
Swatantra, deterred in part by the presence of Ramgarh at the 
helm of the state unit; but he remained a much sought-after figure 
until his death. 66 

The story was much the same elsewhere. Of the leading pre- 
independence rulers, Hyderabad, Kashmir, and Mysore were 
beyond reach, although some very influential former members of 
the Mysore maharaja's service were prominent Swatantrites. 67 
Kolhapur, a well-known state in Maharashtra, and Gwalior, where 
M. A. Sreenivasan (a leading Mysore Swatantrite) had been 
Prime Minister and about which Menon had said more than a few 
kind words, were courted but remained aloof. 68 The Maharaja of 
Bastar (Madhya Pradesh), a somewhat 'erratic' man whose legal 
adviser, Rameshwar Agnibhoj (an untouchable) was a Swatantra 
leader in the state, played no active political role; 69 and Kaluhera's 
appeal to the Madhya Pradesh aristocracy yielded very few 
recruits. Leaders of Swatantra in Gujarat felt that the best policy 
to pursue regarding the Maharaja of Baroda was to leave him alone 
as a Congress candidate, lest he be forced to become an active 
campaigner to Swatantra's disadvantage, although one of the 
Maharaja's brothers did join Swatantra at a later date. 70 

In Rajasthan, the greatest stronghold of the Rajput aristocracy, 
the Maharaja of Jaipur refused to declare openly for Swatantra, 
even though others would have joined if he did; and in the 1962 
elections he also supported some Jan Sangh candidates. The 
Maharaja of Bikaner, whose entry into Swatantra was often pre- 
dicted and claimed, resisted the blandishments of Dungarpur and 
remained an independent — and was rewarded by the Congress, 
which refrained from setting up a candidate to oppose him. 71 There 
were similar reports that the mother of the late Jodhpur Maharaja 
would contest as a Swatantrite and that she would campaign with 
Gayatri Devi and the two Maharanis of Banswara, to rally the 
women-folk, aristocratic and otherwise. She was strongly urged 
'to complete the work left half done' by her late son; but this, too, 
proved unavailing, as she contented herself with an endorsement 



The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

of a long list of opposition candidates, neither contesting herself 
nor campaigning on behalf of Swatantra. 72 Udaipur and Kotah 
wanted nothing to do with Swatantra politics, and the Maharaj- 
kumar of Jaisalmer returned to the Congress. 73 Strenuous efforts in 
Gujarat netted only a scattering of aristocrats prior to the 1962 
elections, although in Masani's victory in the Rajkot by-election 
in 1963, somewhat greater support from this quarter was evident, 
as members of the royal families of Rajkot, Jasdan, and Wankaner 
aided Masani's campaign effort. 74 Subsequently, there has been 
even more open support from Gujarat aristocrats. 

Swatantra was thus unable to recruit the major princes, and it 
often had to be content with relatives of ex-rulers. Even worse, it 
also had to battle some of these same ex-rulers, who supported 
the Congress candidates against their own Swatantra relatives. 
Thus, Raja Man Singh's brother, the former ruler, supported the 
Congress and toured widely with the Congress candidate for a Lok 
Sabha seat. 75 Raja Bhalindra Singh's brother, the former ruler of 
Patiala, refused to give him open support, which contributed to 
the Raja's decision to withdraw from a scheduled Lok Sabha contest, 
in which his successor was strongly opposed by the Maharani of 
Patiala, who openly supported the Congress and abused Swatantra. 76 
In Gujarat, the Maharajkumar of Kutch received no open support 
from his oldest brother, the former ruler. This is not to say that 
within Swatantra itself the aristocracy is not potent. It means 
only that Swatantra was able to recruit a relatively small segment 
of the aristocracy, and those who did join were by no means the 
most useful in electoral terms. 

All told, the outcome was a disappointment for most Swatantra 
leaders, for substantial aristocratic support was desperately needed 
if the party were to make a really strong showing in the short run. 
Admitting that some aristocrats were convinced Congressmen and 
that others had no heart or talent for politics, most Swatantra 
leaders agreed with the Ra)put jagirdar who said, 'in their heart of 
hearts, all of the princes are with us, because they know we will 
protect their vested interests, but they are afraid to join'. 77 But if 
Swatantra is, as Sukhadia said, the 'natural home' for the princes 
and other aristocrats, the Congress has been notably reluctant to 
let them repair to it en masse, forever holding the privy purses 
and compensation payments, as well as more positive inducements 
over their heads. 78 It is ironical that one of Swatantra's principal 


The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 

liaison men with the princes was Menon and that many Swatantra 
leaders fondly remember Patel as a bulwark against socialism, 
because to the policy engineered by Patel and Menon can be 
attributed most of Swatantra's difficulties in recruiting the former 
princes. Still, the problem goes beyond the threat of punishment. 
The Maharajas of Jaipur and Patiala were offered and accepted 
ambassadorships; and it is difficult to conclude that partisan 
political considerations were not involved here. Particularly in the 
case of the Jaipur family, even a diminution of political activity 
could well be disastrous for Swatantra in Rajasthan. 79 

In the tense battle for princely support, there was a moment of 
comic relief when the ex-ruler of Bastar, after being deprived of his 
title and privileges, announced that ' Minoo Masani, the Swatantra 
Party leader, will be co-founder of the proposed chamber [of 
princes] with me '. Masani, in denying this claim, stated that * there 
can be no place in such a move for us commoners ' — which did not 
prevent Ranga and other Swatantra leaders from criticizing the 
government for its alleged heavy-handed treatment of Bastar. 80 

The influx of the aristocrats, through party mergers and indivi- 
dual entry, has certainly been the most important development 
following the consolidation of the inner circle of the party. 81 
India's ex-princes and landed nobles either dominate or are very 
important in the Swatantra units in Bihar, Orissa, Rajasthan, UP, 
the Punjab, and, to a lesser extent, Gujarat; and in higher circles, 
first Ramgarh and then Gayatri Devi have served as Vice-Presidents 
of the party. The Maharani's remark, ' I am not a politician and 
God forbid I should ever become one 3 , 82 suggests that she is some- 
thing more of a symbol than was Ramgarh; but her presence 
among the top national office-bearers must come as a happy re- 
minder to aristocrats that even in Swatantra traditional rank seems 
to have its privileges. But more important than party offices held is 
the fact that Swatantra's legislative strength is very heavily depen- 
dent on the residual appeal of the aristocrats. 

The entry of the aristocrats, who in Swatantra are very heavily 
Rajput, introduced into the leadership cadres the element of 
aristocratic conservatism and the often overweaning pride of this 
kshatrya group; and this was true even of the ' little' Rajputs long 
separated from dominant positions. One of the latter, fiercely proud 
of his kshatrya background, insisted that the government of the 
country be returned to the * martial races', especially the Rajputs. 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

These alone, he said, could protect the country against aggression 
and maintain effective rule domestically; and to emphasize his point 
he noted with obvious disgust and equally obvious conviction that 
the commander-in-chief of the Indian armed forces (President 
Radhakrishnan) could not even ride a horse or fire a rifle. 83 A 'big' 
Rajput from the same state casually remarked: * I do not believe in 
democracy, but in autocracy— benevolent, of course.' 84 In addi- 
tion the same man wrote that 'it is my firm opinion that the only 
persons who can take over power from the Congress Party 
immediately and run the affairs of the country successfully are the 
princes of India. They are not only capable of ruling the country 
well, but they have the affection and backing of the people. They 
are being well-received and trusted even in British India.' 85 
Similarly, a Rajput leader from Rajasthan, who described himself 
as ' conservative socially, conservative economically, and conserva- 
tive politically', echoed the words of almost every Swatantra 
aristocrat when he said, 'the people now realize that they were not 
so badly off when we ruled them'. 86 It was Ramgarh who referred 
to the Congress as a 'new class' of 'demi-gods and career politi- 
cians ' who exploit the ignorant masses ' for strengthening their own 
class rule' and who termed it 'an upstart body' which 'has not 
built up the traditions of authority and command through time 
with a corresponding attitude of obedience among the masses'. 87 
A fitting last touch to this monument to aristocratic arrogance was 
the passionate statement of the same Raja: 'If I am to function 
as the Instrument of the people's Will, then I must not be fettered 
from above or within ... If I am not allowed to work out our destiny, 
then this is the time someone else is put in charge of Bihar affairs 
and I am absolved of historic responsibilities.' 88 These by no 
means exhaust the available supply of such statements by Swa- 
tantra aristocrats, but they will serve as evidence that aristocratic 
sentiment of the type described earlier is far from dead. 

One should remember, however, that even some of the more 
vituperative aristocrats, like Ramgarh, are committed to modern 
industry and are willing to participate in the existing political 
system, as least as long as there is no plausible alternative. More- 
over, we must also remember that the ex-rulers of Patna and 
Kalahandi took the Ganatantra Parishad along a generally moder- 
ate path and both proved to be resilient in outlook and Tory demo- 
crat in their approach. Kalahandi, in addition to being an effective 



The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 

spokesman for the hill people of Orissa in the Lok Sabha, acquitted 
himself well in other respects. No friend of the CPI by any 
means, Kalahandi could still say, upon the termination of the 
Communist ministry in Kerala: ' I simply shudder to think that an 
Assembly could be dissolved and a Ministry dismissed, even 
though it enjoyed the confidence of the House.' 89 Such examples 
are not sufficient proof of the acceptance of the new order, because 
some of the most arrogant and reactionary aristocrats have 
acquitted themselves tolerably well in legislative chambers, and 
many will try to score against the Congress, even if it means de- 
fending the CPI. But taking his public record as a whole, Kala- 
handi fares quite well. If anything, at the state level, Patna fares 
even better. Similar differences between ' old-style ' and ' new-style ' 
aristocrats have been noted elsewhere, as, for example, by the 
Rudolphs in their comparison between Dungarpur and Gayatri 
Devi in Rajasthan. 90 However, it is worth stressing another point 
made by the Rudolphs : that in some cases, the very act of partici- 
pation in the democratic process has helped to make this process 
more respectable among strongly conservative segments of the 
aristocracy. 91 


The 'old warriors' — by which we mean veteran politicians with 
some standing — could be useful to Swatantra as vote banks also, 
if they retained some support on a caste or factional basis. This was, 
of course, particularly true of Congress old warriors, because of 
their association with the nationalist movement and/or with the 
party which had had overwhelming control of India's political 
life since independence. 

As ex-Congressmen themselves, some of the leading Swatan- 
trites understandably hoped that former colleagues would join 
them in their new political venture. As interview and questionnaire 
data bear out, the ex-Congress Swatantra leaders were convinced 
that the vast majority of old Congressmen were ideologically at 
one with them, 92 and they were particularly anxious to recruit 
certain of the old warriors of the generation of Rajaji, Munshi, 
et al.; and it was in large part because of Munshi's presumed 
appeal to such groups in north India that so much pressure was 
put upon him to join the party. 93 On the other hand, the Swatantra 

9 I2 9 ESP 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

leaders knew that they had to be wary of carreerists and oppor- 
tunists, who might seek (temporary) refuge in Swatantra because 
they had been denied a Congress ticket, etc., and who would be 
likely to rejoin the Congress under more favourable circumstances. 
At the outset, Rajaji seemed to draw no distinction among 
Congressmen. All, in his view, had been corrupted by the lure of 
power and pelf. As he put it on one occasion: 'I do not want to 
attract Congress members into this— God forbid. Let them be in 
the Congress and let them carry on, and maybe, they will improve 
also by competition.' 94 At least on the verbal level, Rajaji was con- 
tent simply to encourage Congressmen to do some soul-searching 
and to rethink their positions. 

None the less, many of those who quickly joined Swatantra were 
Congressmen and of the careerist type; and in almost every area 
there was a scattering of such poeple who tried to move into leading 
party positions. Many early organizational problems in Madras, 
Rajasthan, and Delhi, for example, are traceable to this influx, 
which generally resulted in the self-declared leadership of these 
ex-Congressmen and in conflict between them and long-standing 
anti-Congress elements which had also been attracted to Swatantra. 
Little was done by Swatantra leaders to keep such opportunist 
elements out of the party, but by the same token they were not 
always given full tether to do as they pleased. Some departed 
voluntarily after failing to make much headway, after being 
superseded by other entrants into the party, or after realizing that 
the Swatantra treasury was not a bottomless pit which could satisfy 
all of their desires. Others (including some INDC leaders) were 
pressured into leaving. One member of the Swatantra inner circle 
tells the story of a party meeting at which Rajaji heard an ex- 
Congress Swatantrite promise a Swatantra ministry in his state in 
the near future. Rajaji's mumbled reply, according to this source, 
was a terse 'God save us from that'. 95 This neatly captures the 
essential flavour of the issue: Swatantra was not about to turn 
recruits away from the door, but many leaders were far from ecstatic 
about some of the early entrants into the party. 96 

Some Congressmen were, however, persona grata, viz. the old 
warriors who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Rajaji during the 
nationalist struggle. Paliwal was, of course, such an old warrior, 
but he had left the Congress in 1951; and Rajaji was anxious to 
recruit those who still remained, such as Mahtab in Orissa, 


The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 

Hanumanthaya in Mysore, Jai Narain Vyas (now deceased) in 
Rajasthan, among many more. Thus, after Mahtab's fortunes 
declined in Orissa (after the termination of the Congress-Parishad 
ministry), Rajaji commented on a press report that Mahtab would 
join Swatantra by saying: 

Not only Dr Mahatab but all the old warriors of the Congress who do 
not approve of and are not happy with the permit-quota-license raj that 
goes by the name of socialism, are to join hands with me. . . I know that 
some senior politicians hope to improve the Congress from within, but 
I am trying to make them see that this is no longer possible and that they 
will thereby become instruments for the continuance of the present 
Congress policy. 97 

An elite comprised of such people would have been much more 
congenial to Rajaji and much more homogeneous than the one 
which actually developed. But Mahtab did not join, nor did most 
of the others whom Rajaji had in mind, even though many of them 
repeatedly made public pronouncements of which any Swatantrite 
might have been proud. 98 

Failure was not total, however. In addition to old warriors 
already mentioned in other connections, Swatantra was able to 
attract a few Congressmen whose names would mean something, 
locally, if not nationally. Dahyabhai Patel, son of the Sardar, 
once mayor of Bombay and President of the Bombay Congress, 
and a man who described himself as ' fairly orthodox', 'non- 
westernized', and a supporter of modern private enterprise, was 
among these, and his has been a dominant voice in the Swatantra 
Rajya Sabha contingent, of which he is the leader. 99 Harihar Das, 
son of a former Congress Chief Minister, joined the party in 
Orissa and sought to organize it in the coastal regions ; and Maganlal 
Joshi, a veteran member of the States' Peoples' organization in 
Jamnagar (Gujarat) and then the Congress, speaker of the 
Saurashtra assembly, an arya samajist and retired advocate, joined 
Swatantra at its inception, because of 'its Gandhian outlook'. 100 

A major entrant into Swatantra was Bhailalbhai Patel ('Bhai- 
kaka'), a highly respected Gujarati who escapes easy classification 
here. An engineer by profession, with a distinguished career behind 
and ahead of him, Bhaikaka responded to Sardar Patel's call to 
engage in Gandhian 'constructive work' and abandoned his 
career in 1942. Since that time, his abundant energies have been 



The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

occupied on many fronts, but mostly in education and 'rural 
uplift'. However, rather than idealizing village India and insisting 
on maintaining (or restoring) its pristine purity, Bhaikaka has 
instead worked for a different solution: to bring modern tech- 
niques, modern education, and modern amenities to rural India, 
i.e. the direction in which Rajaji is now tending. A major, modern, 
residential college in a rural setting and a wide range of modern, 
highly efficient small-scale industries are among the accomplish- 
ments which have earned him the respect and admiration of the 
people of central Gujarat, and elsewhere. He is, then, no techno- 
logical primitivist, no obscurantist, but a man who wants swift 
attention to the desperate problems of rural India; and his entry 
into politics, at the age of sixty-plus (via the Lok Paksh, in 
1952), flowed largely from his desire to redirect what seemed to 
him a lethargic, inept, and urban-oriented government, along these 
lines. Although he is not, strictly speaking, a Congress old warrior 
(as this term is used here) and although he had no political follow- 
ing in the strictest sense, his appeal and his energy have played a 
major part in building Swatantra in Gujarat, where he is state 
President. 101 

Among the non-Congress 'old warriors' there were also some 

very distinguished men. One of the most outstanding of these 

was Chatterjee, the former President of the Hindu Mahasabha, 

whose role in right-wing unity talks has already been cited. Despite 

his connection with the Mahasabha, Chatterjee has been described 

by a most unlikely source of favourable comment as c only a causal 

politician ' but a ' brilliant lawyer ' and one of the ' ablest opposition 

members' in the 1952-7 Lok Sabha. A man whose 'objectivity' 

' was acknowledged even by the CPI, Chatterjee was regularly 

courted by the CPI as well as by the Jan Sangh, because, as a 

1 minimum, everyone respected his legal acumen and parliamentary 

1 skill and diligence. 102 Upon his entry into Swatantra he was 

designated as President of the West Bengal unit. 

Less well known than Chatterjee but also highly regarded was 
Professor M. Ruthnaswamy, one of the 'founding fathers' of 
Swatantra. A veteran politican, Ruthnaswamy had combined a 
career as professor of political science, Vice-Chancellor of 
Annamalai University (Madras), and extensive work as one of 
India's most prominent lay Catholics, with his involvement in the 
Justice Party in the old Madras presidency. After the effective 


The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 

demise of this party, Ruthnaswamy remained aloof from organized 
politics until Swatantra was established, although for four years 
he published a paper called The Democrat, which, he said, expressed 
Swatantra-type principles. Ruthnaswamy contemplated starting 
an opposition party as early as 1951 but did not consider himself 
sufficiently notable or wealthy to take the lead personally. 103 With 
Dahyabhai Patel, he has been one of Swatantra' s ablest spokesmen 
in the Rajya Sabha, and after the resignation of Paliwal, Ruth- 
naswamy was named as a Vice-President of the party. As a Catholic 
and one who had a long-interrupted political career, Ruthnaswamy 
was a less significant recruit than Chatter jee, although he was 
certainly respected locally and among Indian Catholics generally. 

Still another prominent non-Congressman who joined Swatantra 
at the outset was J. Mohammed Imam from Mysore. Imam was a 
member of the Mysore legislature in princely state days since 1930 
and was a member of the Muslim League until 1947. He joined 
J. B. Kripalani's Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party (KMPP) but was 
alienated when this Party joined with other socialist groups to 
form the Praja Socialist Party (PSP). After independence he was 
the leader of the opposition in the Mysore assembly from 1952 to 
1957 an( ^ sat m tne Lok Sabha from 1957 t0 1962, joining Swa- 
tantra in 1959. A very staunch secularist and anti-communist, 
Imam felt very strongly the need to consolidate the opposition 
forces in India and, more generally, to reduce the number of 
parties overall, with the ultimate objective of establishing an 
approximation of a two-party system in the country. 104 One could 
cite other recruits of comparable stature, but these three- 
Chatter jee, Ruthnaswamy, and Imam— will suggest the potency 
of Swatantra's appeal. And it is not to be overlooked that these 
three men were of three different religions and from three different 
political parties, yet all were willing to cast their lot with Swatantra. 

On another front, Swatantra leaders turned for a time to some 
leading independents in the Lok Sabha, first to bolster the small 
contingent of converts in the 1957-62 Lok Sabha and then to pro- 
vide some possible leadership in the absence of Masani and Ranga, 
who were defeated in the 1962 general elections. The most pro- 
minently mentioned in this category were Prakash Vir Shastri 
(UP) and M. S. Aney (Maharashtra). The former, a leading 
independent, a very vocal and competent MP, an arya samajist 
and a leading exponent of Hindi as the national language, would 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

certainly have been a significant addition to the Swatantra Lok 
Sabha group. Aney, a former Congressman and Governor of 
Bihar, has been a spokesman for the sanatanist elements, the most 
orthodox segment of Hindu society, and he has stressed the need 
for a simple, spiritual life, for Hindi as the national language, and 
for a renaissance of Sanskrit as an indispensable aspect of India's 
regeneration. 105 Shastri would have reinforced somewhat the 
more militant strand in Swatantra, Aney would have pulled more 
strongly toward the conservatism of the RRP, and both in this 
sense would have run counter to the broadly moderate character 
of the Swatantra inner circle. The fact that efforts were made to 
recruit them suggests that some leaders were not overly concerned 
about this point, but, in any event, Swatantra did not have to 
confront the issue: neither Shastri nor Aney nor any other in- 
dependent of stature in the Lok Sabha joined the party, although 
according to certain Swatantra records, Aney had actually com- 
mitted himself, but subsequently reneged. 106 


i In addition to the groups and individuals just discussed, a number 

, of distinguished professionals and former administrators also 

joined the Swatantra Party. Their utility as vote banks was obviously 

quite limited, but it was not in every case non-existent. Their 

importance, however, lay primarily in other areas. 

The presence of V. P. Menon among the founding fathers 

provides a useful starting-point. Menon entered government 

I service in 1 9 1 4 and in 1 942 (the year of the ' quit India ' movement) 

he rose to the position of constitutional adviser to the Viceroy— a 

• most prestigious post, indeed. After serving as Patel's principal 

\ lieutenant in the integration of the princely states, he became for a 

short time acting governor of Orissa, before withdrawing from 

active public life. He was, thus, another older, distinguished man, 

without any roots whatever in mass politics; and in this sense he 

reinforced some of the tendencies we have already noted in the 

Swatantra inner circle. After his quickly aborted role as Joint 

Secretary of Swatantra, Menon held no major party office, but he 

was involved in high-level national deliberations and in Mysore 

state affairs. In addition, he played a major role in liaison work 


The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 

among India's ex-rulers. For much of this period, however, Menon 
was extremely ill and virtually immobilized; and in January 1966 
he died. 

Menon, however, also serves as a symbol of the attraction which 
Swatantra has had for the older generation of civil servants, 
judges, educators, etc. For many of them, the entry into Swatantra 
represented the first venture into partisan politics; and the fact 
that they, in a sense, waited for Swatantra for their political 
baptism must not be overlooked. 

Here, too, even a partial list indicates the stature of some of 
these recruits and their role in party affairs. One of Swatantra's 
principal spokesmen on economic affairs and general administra- 
tion, and a Vice-President of the Mysore unit, is J. M. Lobo 
Prabhu, a Christian and former ICS officer of the highest rank; 
and Lobo Prabhu noted with satisfaction that when he served under 
Rajaji, the latter did not 'meddle' in the administration as does the 
more recent group of politicians. 107 Also prominent in the Mysore 
unit are K. H. Srinivasan, former director of agriculture in Mysore 
state, and M. A. Sreenivasan, civil servant in a number of princely 
states, Prime Minister of Gwalior state, director of the state-owned 
Kolar gold fields (after independence), and a businessman with 
wide-ranging and formidable interests. With Menon and Jinraj 
Hegde (AIAF, lawyer), Lobo Prabhu, Srinivasan, and Sreenivasan 
combined to give the Mysore unit leadership an almost awesome 
aura of administrative experience and professionalism, to an 
extent not duplicated by Swatantra in any other state. 108 

Elsewhere, other individuals of comparable background gave 
Swatantra much help; and even where they did not hold party 
office, they played a role in the party's propaganda efforts, or as 
candidates, etc. As we have already noted, B. L. Singh, who 
headed the AIAF at the time Swatantra was founded, was a 
professional agricultural economist and an adviser to the national 
Planning Commission. In addition, T. Krishnamma, a retired 
sessions judge, has served as General- Secretary of the Andhra unit; 
Col. H. R. Pasricha, a former army doctor and now a practising 
surgeon in Delhi, once was President of the Swatantra unit in 
that city; V. Narahari Rao, a retired Comptroller and Auditor 
General of India, contributed frequently to Swarajya; Narayan 
Dandekar, another former ICS officer and now a businessman and 
a partner in a firm of chartered accountants, has headed the party 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

in Bombay and Maharashtra and is now national Joint Secretary 
and a most articulate MP; R. V. Murthy of the Eastern Economist 
has served as Joint Secretary of the Bombay city unit; and Lt. Gen. 
Thakur Nathu Singh of Gumanpura, a retired Sandhurst- trained 
Rajput general, has been sporadically active in the Rajasthan unit. 109 
More recently (1966) two exceedingly prominent ex-ICS men 
joined Swatantra in Gujarat and were designated to stand as Lok 
Sabha candidates in the 1967 general elections. One was C. C. 
Desai, who at one stage was the Indian high commissioner in 
Pakistan. The other was H. M. Patel, who had held the highest 
administrative posts in the finance and defence ministries and who, 
after his premature retirement in the wake of the Mundhra 
scandal, served as chairman of the Gujarat electricity board and was 
associated with Bhailalbhai Patel in his various activities. 110 This 
does not exhaust the list, and it excludes in particular a number of 
prominent businessmen who have joined the party, and others, 
like Professor B. R. Shenoy, probably India's leading free enter- 
prise economist, who have given aid at key junctures, though they 
are not officially party members. 111 In almost every state in which 
it has sought to organize (and in some where it has made only 
a very feeble effort) Swatantra has managed to attract at least a 
small group of such distinguished professional men. 

The former civil servants and some of the other British-trained 
professionals brought a uniform outlook into the party only in a 
very general sense. The tie that binds is a marked feeling that 
since independence the 'politicians' have let the country down, 
that there has been a too rapid expansion of political — as opposed 
to 'expert', 'impartial', or ' enlightened '—decision-making, that 
there has been a too rapid democratization of political life generally 
and that there has been excessive political interference in all 
I spheres. 112 This has led, in their view, to sordid political manoeuvr- 

* ings, corruption, a disregard for law and order, and appalling 

decline in administrative efficiency and esprit de corps, and a 
precipitous deterioration of educational standards— all quite apart 
from the government's 'socialist' tendencies. 113 This group dis- 
plays, in short, an elitist and administrative approach to public 
affairs, a more 'Platonic' view, if you will; and it displays great 
distress at what appear to be inevitable concomitants of the shift 
from the 'detached' and 'expert' rule of administrators and of the 
educated in general to mass politics and the ascendancy of the 


The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 

politicians. In so far as politicians are mentioned with any appro val, 
they are of the tougher, law-and-order type, including Patel, 
Rajaji, and Munshi. 114 In Rajaji's case, at least, the admiration was 
reciprocated: in the mid-1950s, he was calling for a 'professional 
authority' of senior civil servants to oversee public affairs, in order 
that 'the administrative services should be saved from the pres- 
sures of state politics ', which in his view were verging on anarchy. 115 

An important aspect of this administrative mentality is grave 
suspicion about universal suffrage, at least under present Indian 
conditions. Few advertise this publicly, of course, although some 
have indeed done so. Many more admit it in private. One of the 
prominent Swatantra professionals from Mysore insisted that 'the 
voting right should be conceded only to those who have a minimum 
educational qualification 5 , and he added that simple literacy was 
insufficient. 116 Another Mysore professional stated flatly, 'if this 
is democracy, we would have been better off under the British and 
the princes'. 117 Lobo Prabhu has commented that 'it is one of the 
consequences of democracy that enthusiasts are preferred to 
experts in the administration', and Phiroze Shroff, a frequent 
contributor to Szvarajya, has insisted that 'in our country. . .the 
overwhelming mass of the people are not equipped to exercise the 
franchise'. 118 He added, as other Swatantrites have, that 'adult 
franchise, which is supposed to be a boon for the people, actually 
works to their great disadvantage', largely because they are 
' deceived and misguided by professional agitators ' and are them- 
selves too stupid to realize the cause of their misery. 119 

This view is, of course, shared by many non-administrators in 
Swatantra. Ramgarh's views on the subject have already been 
noted, and like him, Dungarpur accused the Congress of seducing 
'his' people by making unfulfillable promises which he would not 
make, because he was 'above misleading them'. 120 A. D. Shroff 
betrayed the same sentiments when he commented in derogatory 
fashion that Nehru and the Congress had been put in office by an 
illiterate electorate; and Nehru, among others, was not long in 
spelling out the more ominous implications of such views. 121 Even 
Rajaji himself recurrently refers to the extreme 'gullibility' of the 
people, although he is very careful to disclaim all anti-democratic 
implications of such remarks. 122 

A 'thinking man's' bias runs through all of these remarks, link- 
ing many of the disparate groups which comprise Swatantra. It 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

should be clear, but must be underscored, that in general this 
view goes beyond the charge that the masses cannot govern them- 
selves. Most of these remarks indicate that the people are not 
even capable of supporting a sound elite in office, and they indicate, 
too, that the argument about the people knowing * where the shoe 
pinches' is probably not apt either. 123 

Vestiges and undercurrents of a more strictly conservative out- 
look intrude into the broad administrative-professional position. 
Suspicion about universal suffrage may flow from experiences under 
the British, but it may also flow from, or be reinforced by upper 
caste fears about lower caste assertiveness. Pertinent here is 
Menon's contention that hereditary village officers in Mysore should 
be retained, because 'the efficiency of the hereditary cadre can 
never be equalled by men recruited on miserable salaries from 
other families'. 124 Similarly, the Mysore unit of the Swatantra 
Party, heavily influenced by Menon, Lobo Prabhu, Hegde, M. A. 
Sreenivasan, and other administrative-professional men, opposed 
the transferral of local government functions from hereditary 
officers to those elected under the system ofpanchayati raj. 125 This 
was in part due to the fear that the Congress would control these 
elective bodies and reinforce its 'statist' tendencies, but it is clear 
from Menon's contention that other factors were involved here as 
well. In analogous fashion, Sreenivasan has used the plea of 
'efficiency' to censure the government for its efforts to bring 
depressed classes into government service, through reservation of 
positions. 126 

Beyond this, Menon took a very explicitly conservative stand. 
He expressed his own personal aversion to and suspicion of ' mass ' 
politics, and said, on one occasion, that 'rightly understood, the 
Swatantra Party is a conservative Party, but there is nothing to be 
ashamed of in wise conservatism'. He insisted that conservatism 
was not synonymous with reaction, that given the 'fact of inces- 
sant, bewildering change' there was a need for a conservative 
counterweight, because 'men must have stability; they must have 
something to cling to. . .Only those who think that nothing in the 
national past was good can wholly oppose conservatism.' 127 On this 
basis, he defended the inherent scepticism of the conservative, 
especially with respect to what he termed the two major sources of 
change, 'technology and social theories'. On this, he and Rajaji 
obviously had a good deal in common. 


The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 

As in the case of Rajaji's defence of the 'old culture' on non- 
traditional grounds, views such as Menon's and Sreenivasan's 
raise important questions in terms of political development. As 
was true in Rajaji's case, the use of a newer vocabulary, i.e. 
' efficiency ' for Menon and Sreenivasan, represents an advance over 
an explicit defence of the old caste hierarchy and of the inherent 
superiority of the Brahmins and/or kshatryas. Eventually, the 
arguments about efficiency might be used against some of those 
who now expound them, but in the shorter run they reinforce the 
status quo. In short, as in Rajaji's case, though the defence is not 
explicitly traditional, is not the practical outcome much the 
same, i.e. a substantial reinforcement of the old order? 

The anti-democratic bias is not particularly edifying or en- 
couraging, and it certainly does not help the prospects for 
democracy, if one repeatedly hears that the masses and the 
politicians who emerge from them are incapable of managing 
public affairs properly. But the inveterate optimists, at least, 
could point out that this is a less serious matter than might seem at 
first glance. Most of the administrative-professional elitists are 
reluctant politicians at best, many are only part-time politicians, 
and few, if any, have any roots in mass politics. If they are not 
dedicated democrats, neither are they dedicated counter-revolu- 
tionaries. They certainly display no enthusiasm for the more 
frenzied militant Hindus and, to a lesser degree, they are not 
enamoured of aristocratic pretensions either. As Weiner said of 
the businessmen, they are not likely to seek the overthrow of the 
democratic regime, although many would not be inordinately 
sorry if others did. 128 In this sense, the unreconciled aristocrats 
are more to be feared. 

As long as the political structure remains substantially secure, 
the administrative-professional viewpoint may, on balance, be 
viewed in a more optimistic fashion. The presence of this group in 
Swatantra suggests a willingness to work within the contemporary 
political framework, even though they dislike some of its basic 
contours. Even if their use of 'efficiency' as a criterion contains 
elements of 'disguised conservatism', it does reinforce a more 
modern political vocabulary. They are often conservative not 
through the weight of indigenous Indian traditions or through a 
desire to revert to some nobler Indian past. Rather, they are 
influenced as much, if not more, by more recent— although perhaps 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

not less outmoded — political attitudes: those of the early Congress 
' Moderates ' on the one hand and of the administrative state * above 
polities' on the other. If they do bring to bear the administrative, 
judicial, educational, and other standards of the British raj, their 
presence in Swatantra would seem to reinforce the moderate 
centre of gravity in the party and to give added substance to the 
party's emphasis on constitutional propriety and administrative 
efficiency and integrity. Frequently heard assertions that Swatantra 
has proved attractive to Parsis, Christians, and Anglo-Indians 
would seem further to underscore the arguments about secularism, 
moderation, and a respect for the British raj: like the adminis- 
trative-professional groups, these elements received some pre- 
ferential consideration from the British and all suffered, at least 
pyschologically, upon the termination of the raj. 12 * We may borrow 
the words which Rajaji applied to businessmen and say that many 
such people preferred the 'placid pool' of the British days to the 
* swift river ' of post-independence politics. 130 The same, needless to 
say, is true of the aristocrats as well. 

swatantra's more 'modern' men 

Swatantra has also managed to attract some elements whose roots 
are less deeply embedded in India's past. This more modern 
component would include many of the businessmen, but it would 
also include some of the administrators and professionals as well. 
Most prominent, of course, is the Bombay contingent, including 
Masani, Mody, Shroff, Vaidya, Dharamsey Khatau, among others 
who are primarily associated with business and finance; and 
I Dandekar, Murthy, and others who are associated with other 

professions. A small but powerful group of predominantly Patidar 
j businessmen from Baroda, headed by Nanu Amin, has for a long 

| time been with Swatantra; and recently (1966) they have been 

joined by Vadilal Mehta, a prominent Ahmedabad industrialist, 
who was a close associate of Morarji Desai and former Treasurer 
of the Gujarat Congress. There has been other scattered support 
from this quarter— R. P. Patodia and S. P. Agarwal (Calcutta), 
K. Sundaram (Coimbatore), S. S. Koder (Cochin), R. G. Gupta 
(Kanpur), for example— and since the 1962 elections a few more 
businessmen have openly identified themselves with Swatantra— 
as, for example, Chiranjit Rai, who was designated as a Swatantra 



The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 

Lok Sabha candidate from Rajasthan. Thus far, however, the 
names of Birla, Bajaj, Sarabhai, et ah have been conspicuous by 
their absence from the roster of Swatantra supporters. 

These men are modern primarily in the sense that they are either 
engaged in or are supporters of technologically advanced, large- 
scale industry; but many are also secular and liberal (in the classical 
sense) in outlook as well, and here they derive support from 
Lobo Prabhu, Pasricha, Ruthnaswamy, among others already 
mentioned. 131 

One very crude index of the modernity of this group, in com- 
parison with most of the aristocratic and non-aristocratic con- 
servatives in Swatantra, was established by questionnaire data, 
which showed that almost all of the business and professional men 
approved of, without significant qualification, the so-called Hindu 
Code measures; while among the other groups, opposition not only 
ran high but explanations for opposition were studded with 
references to the vedas, shastraic principles, the 'genius of Hindu 
society', etc. 132 In the economic sector, artificial maintenance of 
cottage industries is stoutly opposed, putting this group at odds 
with the ' Gandhians '. 

The spirit of this group can be captured easily by examining 
Lobo Prabhu's weekly, Insight or by considering his recommenda- 
tions for help to the backward classes in his New Thinking.™ In 
both, statism and the ancien regime come in for sharp criticism. 
Here, however, we shall let Ruthnaswamy and Pasricha speak for 
the group, remembering that in all important respects, Masani, 
Lobo Prahbu, et ah are with them. 

Consider, for example, Ruthnaswamy's estimate of the accomp- 
lishments of free India: 

Nothing has been done to make the people want more, and better 
things — in the matter of food, clothing, housing, nor to turn their 
minds and their lives to new ideas of freedom, equality, justice, progress, 
patriotism — to detach them from their addiction to caste and com- 
munity and family loyalties at the expense of larger interests of country 
and State. That is why so much of recent social legislation — the Child 
Marriage Restraint Act, the Anti-Dowry Act, the Inter-Caste Marriage 
Act, the Women's Property Act — is a dead letter. 134 

Here is a list of desiderata which jar uncomfortably with Rajaji's 
basic positions: materialism as opposed to restricted levels of 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

living, concern for national citizenship as opposed to attachment to 
parochial loyalties as an important aspect of social life, a move- 
ment toward reform along liberal, individualistic lines, as opposed 
to an aversion to 'perverted' movements of social reform, and the 
like. Ruthnaswamy is very much oriented toward western liberal- 
ism in values and institutions, while Rajaji is only marginally so, 
although as we have seen he has moved in this direction of late. 

Pasricha was even more outspoken in challenging most of Rajaji's 
basic perspectives, although as in Ruthnaswamy's case this was far 
from a battle between equals. Pasricha was a quite reluctant 
politician; his voice was never loud in party circles, and, with his 
departure from the presidency of the Delhi unit, it is very largely 
stilled. But Masani was quite favourably disposed toward him and 
considered Pasricha the type of educated professional whom he 
hoped would come into the party in larger numbers. 

According to Pasricha's almost complete indictment of things 
Indian, the 'national mind' is 'largely feudal' with 'caste and 
group considerations immensely strong'. He further asserts that 
most Indians, in the face of any criticism of Indian culture, ' react 
violently and passionately and the pattern is the same though the 
shades may vary. . .The stock-in-trade. . .is composed mostly of 
two items : transcendant spiritual philosophy and antiquity of the 
nation.' Noting that the 'claim of antiquity is unassailable', 
Pasricha denies that it has any connection 'with greatness' in a 
nation, which is ' determined not so much by age and antiquity as 
by its achievements in the sphere of human activity'. Here he be- 
moans the 'complete stagnation and retrogression' of India's 
'meagrely educated and under-developed' society; insists that 
'Western liberal education opened and broadened the mental 
horizons', and that this, coupled with the common bond of the 
English language (against which 'a number of cranks have raised 
their voice in a loud wail') amounts to an 'enormous debt of 
gratitude we owe' to the English people and their culture. In his 
attack on all segments of Indian society, Pasricha censures the 
isolation of the enlightened Indian from the bulk of the population, 
his aversion of social reform work, and his ' willing readiness ' to 
'submit to superstitious rituals at the time of marriage or deaths or 
any of the numerous other ceremonies that afflict an Indian'. 135 It 
makes little difference in the present context whether these views 
are sound or not, and it makes little difference that Pasricha reflects 


The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 

the widespread destructiveness of many an Indian intellectual, 
taking almost fiendish delight in abusing his own country. What is 
important is that these views have been expressed and co-exist in a 
party whose founder-leader is Rajaji, and whose cadres are heavily 
manned by the aristocratic and non-aristocratic conservatives. 


From 1959 to 1962 (and beyond), the Swatantra leadership made a 
determined bid to build a party which would be an effective, 
nation-wide opposition to the Congress. In the process, it con- 
fronted a wide array of social forces, which were organized and 
self-assertive in varying degrees. It absorbed many parties, received 
support from many caste groups, drew upon more modern associa- 
tions such as the FFE and AIAF, as well as upon segments of the 
aristocracy and upon many distinguished individuals. The initia- 
tive was not in every case taken by Swatantra, but eventually 
many diverse interests came within the purview of the party. On 
the surface of it, this would seem to have constituted an impressive 
start, at least. 

Even without knowing anything about the interaction of the 
major components of the coalition or about the internal balance of 
power, some specific points deserve to be stressed. The geo- 
graphical spread, with all its limitations, 136 is noteworthy, because 
the party did embrace significant elements from both north and 
south India. If, on the whole, Swatantra's elites were upper caste 
and generally conservative, there were some lower caste elements 
on a non-derivative basis in some states, and a few untouchables 
have held high party offices. 137 If, on the whole, the elites were 
predominantly Hindu, non-Hindus were very prominently repre- 
sented both at the national and state levels, which suggests a non- 
denominational, if not a more strictly secular orientation. 138 
Finally, despite the old adage about politics making strange bed- 
fellows, we should note that the coalition included many elements 
who were, in the not-too-distant past, political enemies; and it 
included both aristocratic and industrial elements, which is of 
major importance. 

Electorally, the start could also be considered impressive, in light 
of the 1962 data. 139 To be sure, the party was for all practical 
purposes non-existent in Assam, Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Maha- 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

rashtra, and Kerala — and it remains so as of this writing. In 
Madras, the mergers and Rajaji's personal appeal produced very 
meagre results; in Mysore the poll performance was weak, although 
Swatantra stood a strong second in many constituencies; and in 
the Punjab, where the emphasis was on the Sikh elements, the 
poll performance was weaker yet. However, in Andhra, the diverse 
elements which entered Swatantra gave it some small pockets of 
support; and in northern UP it had some strength as well. In 
Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Orissa, it emerged as the principal 
opposition group; and it ultimately achieved this position in the 
Lok Sabha as well. This was no mean achievement. 

The electoral data for 1962 merit a few more detailed observa- 
tions. Eight per cent of the popular vote and contingents of the 
size secured certainly fell far short of Swatantra' s professed goal of 
providing a strong opposition to the ruling party. Yet by prevailing 
Indian standards, the Swatantra electoral achievement was still 
notable; and if one considers the four states in which it was the 
major opposition group, the picture brightens, as the party stood 
roughly 1:2 to 1:3 to the Congress in terms of the popular 
vote, of which it secured roughly 20-25 P er cent. 140 

Of decisive importance, however, is the fact that in terms of 
electoral support and legislative strength, the critical element in 
the coalition was the aristocracy in the northern states. In the 1962 
general elections, only one Swatantrite was elected from south of 
the Vindhyas to serve in the Lok Sabha', and almost all of Swatan- 
tra's MPs {Lok Sabha) were from aristocratic areas, and were either 
aristocrats themselves or hand-picked followers thereof. Three of 
the four Swatantra MPs from UP were themselves aristocrats and 
the fourth, Dandekar, was elected from Mankapur's district, 
Gonda. Rajasthan sent the Maharani and one of the Maharaj- 
kumars of Jaipur, as well as a scheduled caste man from the 
Maharani's jurisdiction; 141 Swatantra's three MPs from Gujarat 
included the Maharajkumar of Kutch and a scheduled tribe man 
from an area influenced by the Maharaja of Devgadh-Baria; and 
the Orissa contingent came wholly as a result of aristocratic in- 
fluence through the Ganatantra Parishad. Bihar must be singled 
out, however, because it not only sent the largest group — seven — 
but the members included Ramgarh's mother, wife, brother, 
sister-in-law, and business manager ! The same general pattern is 
evident at the state assembly level as well. Thus, not only was the 


The Swatantra Coalition: Growth and Scope 

influx of aristocrats notable in terms of party leadership positions, 
but it was also striking in electoral terms as well. Of Swatantra's 
apparent strongholds, only Gujarat seemed to escape this total 
dependence on aristocrats, through a more heterogeneous com- 
bination of big and little kshatryas and some non-kshatrya landed 
and business interests, led by Bhailalbhai Patel. 

We have noted in passing some of the negative aspects of Swa- 
tantra's effort, as of 1962 — it was virtually non-existent in many 
states, and it fell far short of its own aim of providing a potent 
opposition to the Congress. Others, of course, could be cited: its 
failure to absorb the so-called all-India rightist parties; its failure 
to absorb many like-minded local parties; its inability to pry loose 
the Congress 'right'; its inability to recruit the major aristocratic 
families, industrialists, or business groups; and its extreme weak- 
ness in India's advanced cities. More important for the moment, 
however, is the fact that prior to the 1962 elections, Swatantra was 
not able to keep all of its recruits in the fold. There were minor 
defections among former INDC leaders and some of Ranga's 
followers; 142 some ex-Congressmen in Rajasthan, Delhi, and else- 
where, rejoined the ruling party; some aristocrats, including the 
Maharajkumar of Jaisalmer, defected; and Chatterjee left the 
party in 196 1, on the eve of the elections, about which more will be 
said subsequently. Some Ganatantra Parishad leaders responded 
to the 1 96 1 merger decision by entering the Congress or by retir- 
ing to the political sidelines; but here, at least, the key figures 
(Kalahandi and Patna) remained with Swatantra. 143 

In this respect, the period from 1962 to 1967 was more serious 
from the Swatantra standpoint. Paliwal, who contributed little in 
1962 but who was still a major figure in the party, departed in 
1963; Ramgarh and Bilaspur departed in 1964; and Padayachi and 
Mahida departed in 1965, upon most of which we shall dwell 
later on. Death also took its toll as B. L. Singh, Shroff, Mankapur, 
Menon, and Nagoke, among others, passed away. These develop- 
ments have meant, most importantly, that Bihar, a major source of 
support, has been totally lost for the moment; that the important 
Gujarat kshatrya mahasabha front may split; and that the limited 
support in UP has been weakened. In terms of Swatantra's own 
organization and resources, Gujarat alone offered cause for 
optimism, as increased aristocratic, business, and ex-ICS support 
seemed to balance Mahida's defection. 

J 145 ESP 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

From this vantage point, it could be said that Swatantra not 
only achieved a modest coalition, but also an unstable one. 
However, to have expected Swatantra, in such a short time, to 
build a coalition nearly equal in strength to the Congress would 
have been most naive; and one must never forget the difficulties 
which the Congress itself had in creating and maintaining its 
coalition, with the advantage of the anti-imperialist rallying point. 
On balance, Swatantra in 1962 should have been judged quite 
successful, in quantitative terms. 

But a quantitative approach will not suffice here, for we must 
also know what kind of coalition has been created, not only in terms 
of viability but also in terms of orientation and performance. Some 
of the qualitative aspects of the coalition have already been touched 
upon, e.g. the social bases, the strong element of conservative 
elitism, the appearance of secularism. However, we must consider 
in more detail how the different components fit together, where the 
stresses and strains are, and where the balance of power lies, before 
we can come to any major conclusions concerning Swatantra's 
performance in qualitative terms. 




The Swatantra inner circle is itself a heterogeneous group. With 
the entry of the parties, groups, and individuals discussed above, 
some of the existing perspectives in the inner circle were re- 
inforced, while some new ones were introduced. Men like Paliwal 
were akin to Rajaji and Ranga, and they strengthened an already 
strong element in the party. Chatterjee temporarily supplemented 
Munshi's more militant viewpoint, but this continued to remain 
a very minor theme in Swatantra. Some business recruits aug- 
mented the strength of Masani and Mody, but direct business 
participation is less important than its role in party finance. The 
administrative-professional elements introduced some new per- 
spectives into Swatantra, although in some cases these turned 
toward Rajaji's conservatism, in others toward Masani's liberalism. 
The aristocrats unquestionably added the major new dimension to 
the Swatantra elites. Thus, social and doctrinal diversity is 
present; and, for that matter, there is evidence of considerable 
conflict among the components of Swatantra prior to the creation 
of Swatantra. What, if any, are the problems flowing from this 
diversity and from this prior conflict? What, in particular, are the 
relationships among the aristocrats, the non-aristocratic conserva- 
tives, and the more modern (and sometimes liberal) elements in the 
party, and what is the balance of power among them? These are 
the questions which must now be answered. 

There is probably a tendency to be excessively rationalistic in 
trying to explain how and why such diverse forces managed to 
come together under the Swatantra banner. Motives and goals were 
certainly diverse, and even on some fundamental policy issues, 
such as land reform, there is far from universal agreement in the 
party. Indeed, there is far from universal agreement on the 
minimal doctrinal points to which the party members are supposed 
to assent. 1 To say that all Swatantra leaders, at least, are opposed 
to communism as they construe it, is doubtless true; and to say 
that they are also opposed to Congress socialism as they construe it 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

is probably true, too. At least, most have rejected the more con- 
crete manifestations of 'statisni' which they have encountered. On 
the other hand, there is good reason to suspect that not all Swatan- 
tra leaders would be averse to the 'right' type of statism — a strong, 
law-and-order, private-property-oriented regime which, shall we 
say, ' curbed ' democratic ' excesses \ 

There is also a general condemnation of the Congress for allow- 
ing (or even encouraging) the political life of the country to decay; 
but even here we must be cautious. Many of those who are 
presently in Swatantra would have been very happy to remain in or 
to join the Congress, if only the ruling party had allowed the 
political process to decay in their favour. 

There is certainly a broad current of conservative elitism in 
Swatantra, in which aristocrats, some non- aristocratic conserva- 
tives, and some professionals share. There is, moreover, some 
resonance for this view among the more liberal business and 
administrative groups, in a manner reminiscent of much nineteenth- 
century European liberal thought. But even here, there are ample 
differences within the party elite, as we shall see shortly. None of 
this should be very surprising, but it is worth repeating, so that no 
unwarranted conclusions are drawn about what holds Swatantra 
together. Virtually all that may be said with confidence on this 
score is that Swatantra embraced many groups, of generally conser- 
vative inclination, which were for various reasons at least tem- 
porarily anti-Congress. 

Whatever the ties that bind may be, there are, in addition, 
many serious conflicts in the party, due to the social and doctrinal 
diversity of its component groups and due to the manner in which 
the party grew. An exhaustive account of these would not only be 
tedious, but in terms of the main focus of this study it would 
serve no useful purpose. Here, the following problems will be 
examined, in the following order: (i) religious diversity and the 
question of secularism; (2) status and caste considerations, partic- 
ularly the relationship between aristocrats and commoners ; (3) more 
strictly organizational problems related thereto; and (4) the use of 
the party's financial resources and other devices, by Masani, to 
strengthen the position of the modern elements as against the 
conservatives and to establish the power of the natonal party as 
against the states, which is a closely related problem. 2 The conflicts 
between the aristocrats and the non-aristocrats (both conservative 



The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

and liberal) and between the conservatives (both aristocratic and 
non-aristocratic) and the liberals are obviously more important in 
terms of social change and will, therefore, be emphasized here. 


The Swatantra Party, as already noted, has managed to attract 
people from all religious groups in India, and almost all are repre- 
sented in either national or state elites. This is, by itself, prima 
facie evidence of the party's capacity to contain religious diversity. 
It suggests an emphasis on matters other than religion, if not a 
strictly secular orientation. 

There are, however, many people at the higher levels of the 
party for whom religion is not a matter of indifference or of narrowly 
private expression, as it is for many of the liberals. Thus, two sets 
of relationships deserve attention, viz. the relations between men of 
different religions who take their religion seriously, and those 
between people who take their faith seriously and those who do not. 

Rajaji, although devoted to the Hindu tradition, cannot be 
faulted here, as he has abundantly demonstrated his tolerance of 
men of all faiths, regardless of how devout they may be. 3 Most of 
the problems relate, rather, to Munshi's more militant Hindu 
approach; and among the true believers, the Sikhs are the most 
disturbed. One Swatantra Sikh, for example, asserted that ' Munshi 
hates us . . . and considers us a menace ', while another insisted 
that ' even in the Jan Sangh he would be considered an extremist'. 4 
Even disregarding Munshi, however, Hindu- Sikh relations in 
Swatantra have been far from good, especially in the Punjab, of 
course. Having relied primarily on the Sikhs in that state, Swa- 
tantra leaders were obliged to demarcate spheres of influence, in 
effect, ostensibly along linguistic lines but with an unmistakable 
religious dimension. 5 This is, however, the only reasonably serious 
instance of religious tensions within the party. 

Those who are inclined to be more secular in their approach to 
public affairs have also taken exception to some of Munshi's 
concerns. Masani, Mody, and Paliwal have at one time or another 
bemoaned the inclusion of certain Hindu ceremonies at Swatantra 
meetings, with Munshi allegedly being the villain of the piece. 6 
But have the more secular elements been successful, in fact, in 
going beyond mutual respect among true believers to the point 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

where religion — anyone's religion — is reduced substantially in 

Here the situation is quite complex. To be sure, the Hindus in 
Swatantra have had to display some restraint in order to retain the 
support of non-Hindus in the coalition, and this is not to be lightly 
dismissed. However, this is not a one-way street. The religious 
minorities in the party must certainly be discreet in confronting 
Hindu religiosity; and by and large the minorities and the liberal 
elements (which sometimes overlap) have displayed becoming 
'tolerance' of conservative, if not militant Hindu opinion. For 
example, Masani often insisted that the late President Rajendra 
Prasad had every right to advance his rather conservative views, 
which is fair enough; but Masani shows little zeal to argue strongly 
against them, which is not the mark of an aggressive, anti-tradi- 
tional liberal. 7 Further, a number of non-Hindu Swatantrites 
declined to express an opinion on the Hindu Code legislation, on 
the grounds that as non-Hindus they were not concerned. 8 More- 
over, the utility of religion as a brake on the alleged surge of com- 
munism further serves to diminish the conflict implicit here. 
Masani himself looked upon India's religions as a bulwark against 
communism, presumably useful for this purpose, if for no other; 
although he also deplored the fact that most religiously based 
parties did not seem to acknowledge the seriousness of the com- 
munist threat. 9 Thus, many secularists have blunted their critique, 
in much the same way as many early Congress leaders sought to 
suppress the issue of social reform, in the interests of solidarity 
against the British. 

Swatantra is incontestably more secular than the Hindu Maha- 
sabha, RRP and the Jan Sangh, many of whose leaders explicitly 
eschew secular politics. 10 Although not without its religious ten- 
sions, Swatantra has satisfactorily accommodated men of all 
religions within its ranks. This is to the good. But as in earlier 
periods of Indian history, there is a question which must be raised: 
to what extent can the Indian population be effectively mobilized 
without invoking strongly religious appeals? This question, for 
which an answer will be suggested in the discussion of Swatantra's 
formal ideology, is of central importance in connection with 
secularism within the party and the role of the Swatantra liberals. 



The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 


Conflicts within Swatantra in the area of status and caste are 
evident at a number of levels, too, and have an important bearing 
on the nature and role of the party. For example, the relative 
standing of various aristocrats has been a major issue in a number 
of states, indicating that Swatantra has not been entirely successful 
in overcoming this aspect of aristocratic parochialism. In Bihar, 
Ramgarh's commanding position deterred higher status Rajputs, 
as well as the Brahmin Darbhanga ruler, from joining the party. 11 
In Gujarat and Rajasthan, there is evidence of strained relations 
between the 'big 3 and 'little' Rajputs; and in the former case 
there is some difficulty with the nouveaux kshatryas as well. 12 In 
Rajasthan, considerations of status and seniority among Rajput 
ruling families have led to the almost automatic ascendancy of the 
most prominent Rajputs, to the dismay of others who may be 
younger and/or of lower status, but who joined Swatantra earlier and 
were quickly demoted or found the path of advancement blocked. 
During the courtship of Bikaner, a central issue was the re-organi- 
zation of the state party leadership, in view of his status; and one 
highly placed Rajasthan Swatantrite said at one point that Bikaner 
would probably join if he were made leader of the state party, but 
that this was impossible as long as the Jaipur family was involved. 13 
All of this is, however, like a minor family squabble compared to 
relations between Raja Man Singh of Bharatpur, a Jat, and the 
Rajputs generally; but this spills over into the area of inter-caste 
animosities as well. Raja Man Singh, one of the earlier aristocratic 
entrants into Swatantra in Rajasthan, evidently coveted the position 
of state General- Secretary. However, upon Dungarpur's ascend- 
ancy in the state, Man Singh was advised that this post was beneath 
his status as a member of a ruling family and that he should be 
made a Vice-President, with special responsibilities in the field of 
organization — a decision which Man Singh evidently interpreted 
as being inspired by anti-Jat prejudices. Suffice to say, Raja Man 
Singh was also dismayed (to put it mildly) when a Rajput who had 
likened Jats to ' two legged animals ' was appointed to an important 
party position and when some Rajputs (when ' in their cups ' as one 
of them put it) at party meetings have made vicious or derogatory 
remarks about Jats, in his presence. Man Singh would also doubt- 
less be gratified to know that one of his closer Rajput associates in 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

the party explained his (Man Singh's) discomfort by saying that 
* he, like all Jats, has communist tendencies '. 14 It is little wonder 
that Man Singh has often threatened to resign from the party's 
governing bodies, if not from the party completely, and, short of 
this, that he has asked that the Bharatpur area be removed com- 
pletely from the jurisdiction of the state party. 15 

Thus far, there has been little animosity evident among aristo- 
crats across state lines (although it is interesting to speculate what 
might happen if some Maratha ruling families joined Swatantra). 
However, it is clear that the Rajasthan Rajputs consider them- 
selves the superiors of others who have joined Swatantra; and 
there were some complaints from Rajasthan when Ramgarh was 
named a national Vice-President — a difficulty now presumably 
overcome, with Gayatri Devi's ascent to that office. 16 In short, 
many of the historic animosities among aristocrats themselves 
remain to trouble Swatantra; and very often matters pertaining to 
aristocratic status supersede all considerations of ability, party 
loyalty, doctrinal commitment, and so forth. 

The inter-caste problem is, not surprisingly, evident in many 
states. It is discernible in the unhappiness of some lower caste 
southerners at what they regard as the excessive 'Brahminism' of 
some local party units; and this, according to one report, played a 
role in Padayachi's departure from the party. 17 It is certainly the 
crucial element in Gujarat, where Patidars and kshatryas are often 
at odds (in Congress as well as Swatantra). This was underscored 
by the report that the intransigence of some Patidars led to the 
exclusion of kshatryas as candidates in certain districts, to the 
detriment of the Swatantra poll performance in 1962; and there 
is evidence, too, that Mahida's defection from Swatantra was in 
part based on difficulties with some Patidar leaders. 18 (It is interest- 
ing to speculate, too, that inter-caste problems may arise between 
the large number of scheduled caste and tribe MPs and MLAs in 
the Swatantra ranks and the higher caste leadership.) However, the 
intercaste conflict is in many cases tied to the aristocrat-anti- 
aristocrat cleavage, which is one of the most serious to confront the 
Swatantra Party. 

At the state level, relations between aristocrats and commoners 
have naturally varied according to local conditions. In Gujarat, 
the aristocrats are important to Swatantra but they do not dominate 
the state party unit and they have, in general, worked co-operatively 



The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

with the commoners. However, in the period between 1962 and 
1967, more aristocrats have come into the Gujarat unit, and if 
electoral support in non-aristocratic areas should diminish (or 
remain fairly stable) while support in aristocratic areas should 
increase, it would not be surprising to see a change in group re- 
lationships in Gujarat. 19 In Orissa, the aristocrats are clearly the 
dominant element, but they have opened the doors of the Gana- 
tantra Parishad/ Swatantra to commoners, some of whom have held 
high positions in the state unit. There is no marked conflict here, 
and Morris-Jones' assessment of the Parishad as a ' party of 
mixed princely and popular character' is well founded. 20 Even so, 
one Swatantra commoner in Orissa stressed the importance of 
'enabling some persons who actually come from amongst the mass 
to hold some prominent offices', and his was not a lone voice. 21 
The problem is (or was) serious but somewhat suppressed in 
Rajasthan and Bihar, brutal and open in UP. 

In Rajasthan, the state unit is so completely dominated by the 
Rajputs that the conflict has not been particularly visible. However, 
the Rajput-Jat problem was not only present at the aristocratic 
level, but more generally as well. Aware of the fact that Swatantra 
in Rajasthan has an anti-Jat image, Dungarpur, the state President, 
has taken special pains to assure Jats that they were welcome in the 
party and that 'unusual' concessions would be made to them, to 
prove the bona fides of the Rajput leadership. 22 Furthermore, 
Swatantra files contain ample evidence to show that many in- 
terested commoners were deterred from entering the party, be- 
cause of the hegemony of the Rajputs, and that the Swatantra 
central office is sensitive to this problem. Masani has occasionally 
sought to persuade the state unit to enlist support from and to 
open party offices and meetings more widely to Jats and other 
non-Rajputs. 23 Much the same situation prevailed in Bihar, where 
Ramgarh and his close associates monopolized high party positions, 
de facto if not de jure, to such an extent that loud and frequent 
complaints were heard about lack of representativeness in the 
composition of the state executive bodies and about the reluctance 
of commoners to join the party. In Bihar, however, the Jan 
Congress/ Swatantra elements — scarcely commoners themselves — 
had some influence and often invited central office intervention in 
state affairs, thus opening the latter to central office scrutiny. 24 
There was, for a short time, an analogous situation in Rajasthan, 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

when some ex-Congress elements and the Rajputs were vying for 
supremacy; but, with the ascendancy of the Rajputs, Raja Man 
Singh was virtually alone in pressing for central office attention. 

In UP the battle was not only visible, but, figuratively speaking, 
bloody and was fought largely on home ground. It was in the 
main a contest between Paliwal (and some of his followers) and the 
aristocrats. On a very modest level was the complaint of one 
disputant who said, in reference to the aristocrats, 'Swatantra 
Party needs more democratic ways'. 25 But at one juncture the 
language became extraordinarily abusive, earning a reprimand to 
the ' commoners ' from the central office. 

The basis for the reprimand requires little elaboration. Paliwal 
complained in a periodical that 'these feudalists, because of their 
craze for power and their undemocratic and uncommon ideas and 
activities, have created a doubt in the minds of the common man 
and the active workers in particular' about the nature of the party, 
which they are making 'a seat or jagir for their relatives and caste 
brothers'. Paliwal concluded his attack by speculating that this 
'may prove fatal to the party in the long run'. 26 In the same spirit, 
but more colourful, was the article by D. D. Dubey, who an- 
nounced that 'in this party the blood-suckers out-number the 
people who are really ready to shed their blood'. Lack of middle- 
class support and workers was, he continued, ' due to the Rajas and 
other feudal lords. Nobody is prepared to work with them because 
they are out-dated and ill-famed. They have more or less become 
the backbone of the Swatantra Party. It is high time that the great 
thinker, Rajaji, finds out a way to get rid of them from the back- 
bone of the party. ' Failure to do so, Dubey concluded, would 
mean 'suicide, after a brief stage show' by the feudalists. 27 The 
central office had repeatedly attempted, unsuccessfully, to effect a 
compromise, by assigning spheres of influence to Paliwal and 
Mankapur; but neither was happy with these efforts. Finally, 
Paliwal resigned from the party in the fall of 1963, expressing 
doubts about its ' Gandhian' quality and objecting to the nature of 
the UP executive, i.e. the ascendancy of the 'feudalists'. 28 This 
sort of struggle has had its subdued parallels in many areas, but 
nowhere did the localized aristocrat-anti-aristocrat battle assume 
the vehemence that obtained in UP. 

It should be clear, however, that absence of conflict is by no 
means a sign of a satisfactory state of affairs. It may only mean 



The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

that one group so overwhelmingly dominates a state unit that 
others are deterred from joining, thus avoiding a conflict situation. 
But what happens if the dominant group in a state is an aristo- 
cratic one? Do the commoners, in other party units or at the 
centre, assert their positions? 

As General- Secretary of the national party, Masani has had to 
worry about such questions for organizational reasons, but he also 
worries about them for ideological reasons, as there is good 
reason to doubt the aristocrats' commitment to Swatantra doctrine 
and their ability (or willingness) to speak forcefully for the interests 
of the private industrial sector. The fact that aristocratic dominance 
in so many northern areas has deterred professional and business 
interests from coming into the party is a related problem. 

The entry of the aristocrats has also received attention, because 
it was widely heralded by opponents of Swatantra as a sure sign of 
the party's submission to reactionary interests. Even some sympa- 
thetic sources entered caveats, for fear that the party's image and 
appeal would suffer. Swatantra leaders have been so sensitive about 
this point that they have repeatedly taken pains to indicate that 
there are more aristocrats in the Congress than in Swatantra. This, 
alas, is not the important point: the fact is that in Swatantra, these 
elements completely dominate some state units, as they do not in 
the Congress; and, as we have noted, first Ramgarh and then 
Gayatri Devi have served as Vice-Presidents of the national party. 
What, then, has been Swatantra's policy— -if it had one at all—to- 
ward the aristocrats? 

Least persuasive of the views proffered was Rajaji's statement 
that entry into Swatantra would purify unreconstructed aristocrats 
(among others) much as a dip in the Ganges would help to expiate 
sins. 29 More pertinent is a reminder that when he was Governor- 
General, Rajaji did seek to reconcile the princes to the new regime 
and that Menon was second to none in his efforts along these lines. 
Sardar Patel's policy was, to repeat, the minimum favoured by the 
Swatantra founding fathers. 

For a more elaborate statement of the Swatantra approach 
generally, we may quote Ruthnaswamy's words at some length: 

There is one community, especially, which has recently 'swum into the 
ken' of the Swatantra Party and to whom a special appeal is due. That 
is the community of the princely order. . .deprived of the opportunities 
of political work which they had enjoyed and used for centuries. Now in 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

the era of freedom and independence new opportunities for service have 
opened to them. From rulers in India they have become citizens of 
India. And as citizens they have a right to take part in the political life 
of the country. 30 

The last point is not as trivial as it might sound, because some 
people have, in fact, challenged this right, either on technical 
grounds (as recipients of certain types of compensation from the 
government) or on straightforward political grounds (as repre- 
sentatives of reactionary interests). 

Ruthnaswamy had more important things to say, however. He 
insisted that the princes should be politically active, because 
'members of this order have the education, leisure, and the inde- 
pendence which come from the possession of property, the ex- 
perience of administration which will enable them to give disin- 
terested service to the country' 31 — this being a variation on the 
trusteeship theme. Moreover, he was emphatic that modern 
political life was organized and based on parties, and that, as a 
consequence, politically active princes should not contest as 
independents, but as party men. 32 

But why Swatantra, and what must the princes do to be good 
Swatantrites? On the first point, Ruthnaswamy said: 

Of all the parties in India claiming the allegiance of the princely order, 
the Swatantra Party is the one that ought to appeal to them the most. 
It will conserve all the rights and liberties guaranteed to them in the 
Covenants they concluded with the Government of India. . .The prin- 
ciples of the Swatantra Party must be agreeable to them for it will 
conserve the traditions spiritual and secular to which as an order they 
are attached ... It offers them opportunities for the service of leadership. 33 

On the second point he said: 

all they have to do is to step down from the high places in which they have 
lived and moved so far. They must cultivate 'the common touch' of 
democracy, rub shoulders with and act with the common people . . . 
They will have to work hard to secure the knowledge. . .to become wise 
and competent leaders of the people. They have only to follow the 
example of the English aristocracy. . . 34 

Ideally, then, the princes should be well-rounded, dedicated ' Tory 
democrats ', who are reconciled to the new order. 

Ruthnaswamy did not himself explore the extent of this recon- 
ciliation, which would have been a most revealing exercise, indeed. 



The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

However, another of Swatantra's more modern men, Murthy, 
argued that Menon had made much progress in the direction of 
reconciling the princes not only to the new regime but to associa- 
tion with political parties. Similarly, Vaidya has also argued that 
Swatantra has educated the princes in what he called * the economic 
dimension of conservatism'. 35 That is, in his view, Swatantra had 
induced some princes to go beyond a bitter, diffuse, and largely 
socio-political anti-Congress posture and to become more rounded 
and more constructively critical in their opposition to the ruling 
party. Masani's efforts in this direction are unceasing and con- 
siderable; and, as we have seen, there were grounds for both 
optimism and pessimism, in surveying the attitudes of Swatantra's 

Whether India would be better off with princes on the political 
sidelines is a question we shall not attempt to answer; but if the 
princes are going to participate in politics against the Congress, it 
is probably better if they do so through existing political institutions 
and organized parties, thus helping to establish these on a sounder 
footing and to serve the modern nation-state and the processes 
which make it function effectively on a competitive, constitutional 
basis. And it is also better if the princes who participate in this 
fashion do so with well-rounded, constructive programmes. Here, 
Swatantra's self-interest may also work for the public good, if the 
party's efforts in political education are successful. But that is a 
very big 'if', indeed. 

Some Swatantra leaders, as well as the present author, remain 
unconvinced by the arguments about or prospects of princely 
'conversion' on a wide scale. Most, for example, were quick to 
agree with the Gujarat businessman who labelled Ramgarh 'the 
Machiavelli of Bihar. . .a man no better than a communist. . .the 
end justifies the means '. 36 Other aristocrats were similarly censured. 
But while many leaders felt this way, none supported Paliwal's 
recommendation that princes should be admitted to the party but 
should not hold any high party offices, i.e. he would try to force 
them to be the commoners (of sorts) desired by Ruthnaswamy. 37 
In fact, Ramgarh received much support from party leaders in 
Madras, in Bombay city, and in other 'non-feudal' areas. 38 
Conflicts with Ramgarh and others were generally suppressed as 
much as possible and where they did erupt, they were, as a rule, 
very much localized. The explanation and the implications seem 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

clear enough: with very few exceptions, only those for whom the 
ascendancy of the aristocrats makes a tangible difference in terms of 
power have done battle with the aristocrats. For most, the aristo- 
crats are regarded as necessary vote banks in the accretion of 
Swatantra strength. This view was, however, reinforced by the 
feeling that efforts by the national party to tame Ramgarh and 
other aristocrats would set an unhappy precedent for action against 
other state units, aristocratic or not. 39 

The decisive issue has been the maximization of anti-Congress 
support, and, for this reason, even many of Swatantra' s more 
liberal elements felt that ' petty' differences had to be suppressed 
and some doubtful elements in the party had to be tolerated. Rajaji 
made this quite explicit in discussing the Ramgarh affair, which 
ended with the dissolution of the Bihar unit and the expulsion of the 
Raja by the national executive, in the fall of 1964: 

Quite a few friends from all parts of India have been writing to me 
deploring the dissolution of the Swatantra Party unit in Bihar. Our 
biggest legislative party was there and naturally all persons interested 
in the Swatantra Party's progress are shocked and grieved. We tried to 
get on with Sri Kamakhya Narain Singh and his group all these years in 
spite of many complaints from other friends in the party in Bihar. 
Acharya Ranga, Sri K. M. Munshi and I supported him over every 
complaint and kept his authority in tact [sic], because we thought we 
should not weaken his hands or his group. 

After then recounting some of the more recent developments, 
Rajaji concluded. 

This is the story of Bihar. I wish to assure friends that it is with the 
greatest reluctance, and under a compelling sense of duty, that we 
resolved to face the difficulties of beginning on a clean slate in Bihar on 
democratic lines. We have sometimes to reconcile ourselves to losing 
what looks like strength, when that strength is illusory and is ac- 
companied by dissension and total failure of work. 40 

What Rajaji did not say is that the party would probably have been 
humouring Ramgarh to this day had Ramgarh not taken it upon 
himself to seek admission to the Congress, during the course of the 
crisis in Swatantra's dealings with the Bihar unit. He also did not 
bother to note that some other Swatantra aristocrats are little 
better than Ramgarh, when it comes to functioning on * democratic 
lines '. 


The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

As Rajaji's statement indicates, Masani was not among those who 
supported Ramgarh over every complaint; and, indeed, it was in 
large part due to Masani's handling of Ramgarh that the crisis came 
about. 41 Certainly Masani kept much pressure on Ramgarh, as he 
did on Dungarpur and other aristocrats as well. The cynics could 
easily say that this was due to Masani's personal irritation at not 
getting a safe seat from Ramgarh or from some other aristocrat 
and they could point to the fact that Masani was quite prepared 
to censure Paliwal and Dube for their anti-aristocratic tirades. But 
this would miss a main point, even if it contained a germ of truth: 
Masani has a vastly different conception of party organization and 
discipline than do most of his colleagues, and he is absolutely 
determined to assert the position of the more modern elements in 
the party. To both of these ends, Masani has applied pressure, even 
where the matter of a safe seat did not arise and even where 
aristocrats were not involved. Here is where the social composition 
and the broad organizational structure of Swatantra overlap; and 
for this reason, we must restate some of the modern perspectives 
and digress to consider some more general organizational matters, 
before concluding with an examination of Masani's major efforts in 
this direction. 

Briefly restated, the issue is this. The more modern, urban, and 
sometimes more liberal elements in Swatantra differ sharply in 
outlook from the other major components in the coalition, whether 
aristocratic or not. This may be underscored, for example, by 
noting that Paliwal, although anti-aristocratic, complained that in 
the Swatantra mixture of Gandhism and modern capitalism 
there was too much of the latter for his taste. And the fact that 
many aristocrats are involved in modern industry has done little 
to blur the lines of demarcation here : even those who are them- 
selves important industrialists have not been good spokesmen for 
private enterprise (cf. Vaidya's argument) in the Lok Sabha or in 
the state assemblies. For this reason, Masani and those who are 
most closely alined with him have sought to avoid complete 
inundation by the aristocrats and by the conservatives more 
generally; and as a minimum they are determined to see that more 
effective spokesmen for modern private enterprise sit in the Lok 
Sabha. i2 Even though they frequently stress the points that all 
Swatantrites allegedly hold in common, 43 and even though they 
have been obliged to avoid pressing certain positions and have 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

compromised others widely, they have by no means abandoned 
the field completely. In their efforts, they have used two levers. 
One is their heavy involvement in formal party doctrine. The 
second, more critical lever, used with greater zeal in recent years, 
is the real or potential access to funds in the modern industrial 
sector, which Masani and a few others have. After considering some 
of the organizational problems related to the balance of social 
forces within Swatantra, we shall see that it is very much through 
the power of the rupee that Masani et al. have tried to assert their 


Swatantra's organizational problems are intimately related to the 
way in which the party grew (i.e. the absorption of many existing 
groups) and to the attitudes of those who came into the party 
(i.e. the parochial outlook of some, the aristocratic aversion to 
party discipline). It is certainly incontestable that in the areas of its 
greatest electoral strength, Swatantra is heavily dependent upon 
the aristocrats; but elsewhere, local notables — both aristocratic 
and non-aristocratic — play a major role. Paliwal may have accused 
Mankapur and others of trying to make the state unit of the party 
a jagir for themselves and their caste brethren, but Paliwal and 
others like him were no less anxious to establish their own control 
over particular areas. One theme running through discussions 
with Swatantra leaders was the importance of the notion, * there 
but for the grace of God go I ', as it pertained to efforts to regula- 
rize and to discipline the functioning of the party. 

While Masani, in particular, was anxious to establish a well- 
disciplined, bureaucratically organized party, which would func- 
tion on the basis of clearly defined procedures, many important, 
short-run considerations militated against this. For one thing, there 
was an almost universal use of co-option, on a strictly ad hoc basis, 
for a prolonged period. Thus, as a local notable entered the party, 
or as an existing party was absorbed, the leading individuals were 
nominated by the national leadership to hold state leadership 
positions, as 'convenors' or as formal office-bearers; and many 
were immediately co-opted as well to serve in national offices or on 
the party's General Council and the Central Organizing Committee 
(COC). 44 Particularly in view of the way the party grew, this was a 
reasonable approach in the early stages of party development. 

1 60 


The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

However, continued use of co-option did not augur well for the 
emergence of a stable organization based on orderly procedures; 
and by the time party elections were held, many people who had 
been co-opted to prominent positions were very well entrenched, 
indeed. 45 

The frequent demarcation of spheres of influence within a state 
unit, through action by the national leaders, further indicates the 
impact on organization of the way in which the party grew and, in 
turn, created further obstacles to the establishment of the type of 
party desired by Masani. In those cases where divergent interests 
came into the same state unit, there was wide recourse to this 
technique of 'solving' apparently insoluble problems. Thus, 
Paliwal and Mankapur were assigned different spheres of in- 
fluence in UP, and the same was true for Ramgarh and Jankinandan 
Singh in Bihar. The problems in Rajasthan, between Raja Man 
Singh and the Rajputs as well as among Rajputs themselves, led 
to the creation of a zonal division of the state, with Gayatri Devi 
and Man Singh as two of those who were assigned areas over 
which they would have more or less complete control. As we have 
already seen, Man Singh has repeatedly pressed to have Bharatpur 
district declared completely ' off limits ' to the state leadership, with 
which he gets on so poorly. 48 Power struggles, as well as death, 
have settled some of the underlying problems; but where they 
have not been so settled, the sphere of influence principle has been 
difficult to overcome, even with regular party election procedures. 

Swatantra's problems here must be differentiated from those 
which exist in any highly pluralistic society and in federal systems 
which are not merely formal, wherein essentially local interests and 
parochial feelings will take shape in local political groupings which 
resist national party discipline. For one thing, in many pluralistic- 
federal settings, there is more than a rudimentary party organiza- 
tion which provides a framework within which local notables 
function and which can survive even after a major defection. In 
addition, in countries where the electorate is politicized and 
mobilized, there is often a marked identification with a political 
party, as opposed to loyalty to an individual leader. Swatantra, at 
least for the moment, has a weak bureaucratic structure within 
which its notables function, and there is, not surprisingly, little 
identification with the party as such. This is particularly important 
because of Swatantra's dependence on aristocrats, because many 

ir 161 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

of the latter retain the old ' style' and inject 'feudal' values into 
the party, i.e. they tend to resist regularization of party control, 
either from above or from below, and they still cherish territorial 
control on the basis of highly personalized loyalties. (It is signifi- 
cant that within the southern units of the party the sphere of 
influence principle has not been invoked, suggesting that the 
conditions which have given rise to its use are tied to the presence 
of aristocrats, and to their relations with one another and with 
commoners.) What this means, however, is that a few key defections 
can virtually obliterate entire state units — just as the RRP in 
Raj as than was virtually destroyed in many areas, when some of its 
key standard bearers switched to Swatantra. Much depends, of 
course, on who the local leaders are and on how fully they control 
the local scene; but by and large it can be said that a very small 
group of people has the power of life-or-death over the short-run 
future of Swatantra, precisely in those areas where its electoral 
strength has been greatest. 47 In this sense, Swatantra seems to be 
little more than an umbrella under which a number of disparate 
elements have taken refuge; and, to pursue the analogy a bit 
further, it would seem quite likely that if it either stopped raining 
or if someone came along with a better umbrella, Rajaji and his 
colleagues could well find themselves deserted. This is one of the 
major reasons for Masani's concern. 

Other, albeit related effects of an organization based heavily on 
local notables are discernible in many states and in both parlia- 
mentary and extra-parliamentary affairs. Of Swatantra's strong- 
holds, Gujarat has consistently given the least trouble, because the 
principal aristocratic figure at the state level — Devgadh-Baria — 
has proved to be a reasonably co-operative party man, amenable to 
some control from above, at least. Still, Devgadh-Baria's other 
interests and commitments have kept him from devoting the 
necessary time to his role as General- Secretary of the state unit; 
and this, among other reasons, was responsible for the major 
organizational role entrusted to H. M. Patel, upon his entry into 
Swatantra in 1966. 48 Orissa has given little trouble here, although 
grass-roots organizational work continues to be decidedly limited; 
and with Faliwal's resignation and Mankapur's death, the problems 
in UP have not flared up. Rajasthan and Bihar merit attention in 

In Rajasthan, as already noted, leadership in the Swatantra 



The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

Party is very much a matter of seniority in the Rajput hierarchy. 
Dungarpur was almost automatically raised to the positions of 
state President and leader of the opposition in the state assembly. 
With him in these positions, Swatantra has not only been able to 
survive in the state but also to do tolerably well. Furthermore, in 
his legislative performance, Dungarpur introduces a measure of 
dignity and restraint, by happy contrast with the disruptive tactics 
preferred by some Indian legislators. 

The negative aspects of Dungarpur's positions are also evident, 
however. His rise alienated some earlier entrants into the party. 
His preference for associating with other leading Rajput aristocrats 
and for attempting to organize the party on this basis has not only 
alienated lesser Rajputs and non-Rajputs, but it has also meant that 
other aspects of building up the party have been neglected, much 
to Masani's displeasure. This, in turn, led to an effort by Masani to 
appoint a special organizer who would tour the state, to do the job 
that neither Dungarpur nor the General- Secretary, Devi Singh 
(Mandawa), seemed willing to do. 49 As part of his general approach, 
Dungarpur doggedly refused to clean out 'dead wood' from state 
cadres, and he was reluctant even to eliminate from leadership 
rosters the names of some individuals who were, ostensibly, no 
longer connected with the party, because to do so would have 
obliged him to take action against fellow Rajput aristocrats. 50 

Another episode which illustrates Dungarpur's negative impact 
on party affairs was the election of members to a committee in the 
assembly, where Swatantra's strength would have justified three 
committee men. At one of the relatively infrequent formal party 
meetings — itself an index of Dungarpur's style— three names were 
agreed upon, but someone reportedly prevailed upon Dungarpur to 
depart from the agreed list and to name him as a party candidate 
for committee assignment. This greatly upset Raja Man Singh as 
well as some younger Rajputs in the assembly party, but in part 
through Man Singh's efforts, all four men were ultimately elected 
to sit on the committee in question. 51 More generally demoralizing, 
both inside and outside the assembly, is Dungarpur's well-known 
view that he has 'had his innings' and that he does not aspire to 
become state chief minister. 52 Yet it has proved impossible thus far 
for younger, more energetic, and in many ways more able leaders 
to come to the fore while Dungarpur is at the helm of the party. 
Even by relatively modest standards, Dungarpur is an ineffectual 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

leader and the Swatantra unit in Rajasthan is a travesty, rising from 
its doldrums only when a handful of aristocrats decide some- 
thing must be done. Opposition to Dungapur is by no means 
confined only to non-Rajputs, but little can be done to replace him 
or to regularize party procedures while he remains. 

The entry of the Maharani had comparable effects, although she 
has been more willing than Dungarpur to adapt to the modern 
political style. Her swift rise, too, led to resentment among many 
long-standing Swatantrites and many were upset that a celebration 
was held in her honour when she joined the party. Others sneered 
at the sum (Rs. 5,000) which she allegedly contributed to the party 
upon her entry and with which she 'bought' the party, according 
to these critics. Most important in the present connection was her 
impact on the organization of the party. As the great Swatantra 
luminary in Rajasthan, she was aware of her critical role, but as a 
political novice, she was uncertain as to the best way of establishing 
her position and of protecting her interests. Thus, she is reported 
as insisting that as a quid pro quo for joining the party, the state 
General-Secretary must be a man whom she knew and trusted 
implicitly. The post was bestowed almost by fiat on a Rajput 
jagirdar (the aforementioned Devi Singh), again much to the 
consternation of many other Swatantrites. At a later juncture, when 
Masani secured Dungarpur's agreement to have an 'organizing 
secretary ' appointed, the man selected was Ayuwan Singh, one of 
the Maharani's personal assistants. Neither Devi Singh nor Ayuwan 
Singh have particularly happy reputations but this seemed to be 
no deterrent: loyalty to the Maharani outweighed all else. No 
wonder that many Swatantrites in Rajasthan and elsewhere are 
disturbed at the course of events. 53 

The moral of this is clear. Dungarpur, although a weak leader, 
is almost unchallengeable within the state, as is the Maharani. 
Organizational efforts have been pathetic, and no one in the state 
leadership seems willing or able to establish a stable, bureaucratic 
organization or to spread the Swatantra message. What passes for 
an organization is heavily dependent on the wishes and whims of 
the leading Rajputs. Meetings are held at their pleasure, party 
officers are appointed or replaced almost at their pleasure. Given 
this pattern of events, it is reasonably clear that should the Maha- 
rani leave the party, or remain in it but lose interest, many of the 
Jagirdars who responded to her call would probably fall by the 


The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

wayside, leaving Swatantra little, if any better off in Raj as than 
than it was before the Maharani's entry into the party. 

This situation, and the Rajput-Jat problem would seem to con- 
stitute an open invitation for intervention by the central office, 
and Masani has intervened on many occasions. He has sought to 
establish a modus vivendi between Rajput and Jat but has largely 
failed in the face of Rajput recalcitrance; he has sought to have 
Dungarpur take up his role with greater zeal and to refrain from 
announcing that he had ' had his innings ' again with little successs ; 
he has sought to place the functioning of the assembly group and 
of the state unit as a whole on a more regularized basis, but again 
with little success. As we shall see in more detail subsequently, 
Masani also applied considerable pressure to have Dungarpur for- 
get his dislike for Congressmen and to seek to establish cordial 
relations with Sampurnanand, Governor of Raj as than and a leading 
conservative Congressman. Even in the matter of appointing an 
* organizing secretary ', about which he felt very strongly, Masani 
yielded to local feelings and agreed to Ayuwan Singh, one of the 
last men in the state unit who could secure the confidence of Jats. 
In sum, Masani has thus far relied primarily on persuasion and 
even this has elicited resentment and charges of * meddling' among 
state leaders, although not openly from Dungarpur or Gayatri 
Devi. Masani would dearly love to establish the Rajasthan unit on 
a sounder footing, but thus far he has sought to do so within the 
broad framework imposed by the dominant Rajput interests and 
related patterns of deference. Any efforts beyond this would require 
steps inimical to the interests of Dungarpur and theMaharani,and 
neither Masani nor other national leaders have been willing to take 
this risk (cf. Ramgarh). It is little wonder that many Swatantra 
leaders look with envy upon the RSS-Jan Sangh cadres, which are 
more stable, more disciplined, and more likely to function on a 
sustained basis than the highly personalized and more traditional 
associations upon which Swatantra has to rely in many states. 54 

The impulse to intervene in state affairs and the dangers related 
thereto are best illustrated by the situation in Bihar. As we have 
seen, Ramgarh was one of the earliest entrants into the party and 
he was certainly one of its very best organizers, which could not be 
said for Dungarpur or Gayatri Devi. Although some Swatantra 
leaders have argued that the Ramgarh- Janata Party forces repre- 
sented a minority in the state unit, the electoral results indicate that 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

Swatantra successes were virtually co-extensive with Ramgarh's 
sphere of influence in the state unit. A tempestuous and headstrong 
man, Ramgarh, again unlike Dungarpur and Gayatri Devi, made 
abundantly clear his determination to be free of all unnecessary 
encumbrances on his personal position — and in his view all were 
unnecessary. Given his undeniable organizational abilities, and his 
desire for complete autonomy, Ramgarh (by no means feeling he 
had £ had his innings') was perhaps an obvious choice for a laissez 
faire approach on the part of the central party. But as in the Rajas- 
than case, where the problem with Man Singh and the Jats 
obliged the central office to take cognizance of the state situation, 
there was a serious internal rift in Bihar. This, again coupled with 
Masani's determination to establish a modicum of party discipline, 
set the stage for a bitter and decisive battle. 

The seeds of conflict were sown early in the history of Swatantra 
in Bihar and lay in the differences between the Ramgarh/ Janata and 
the Jankinandan Singh/Jan Congress elements. Very quickly, 
however, the conflict went beyond the state boundaries. Masani's 
position as General- Secretary obliged him to take cognizance of 
difficulties in Bihar, and his own interest in securing a safe con- 
stituency, possibly in Bihar, reinforced his official concern. 
Munshi's friendship with the Darbhanga family added another 
dimension to the problem. The conflict was by no means unex- 
pected, and with two such strong personalities as Masani and 
Ramgarh involved, it had the potential to become a very bitter one, 

On Ramgarh's part, there were a number of provocations — 
whether intentional or unintentional we cannot say — of the centre 
and of Masani in particular. Ramgarh was generally not very 
responsive to requests for information about the state unit of the 
party, and, for example, certain information about party nominees 
for public office was not forwarded to the central office as requested. 
Similarly, the list of names for election to the Rajya Sabha was not, 
in Masani's view, properly cleared with the Parliamentary Sub- 
Committee of the COC. Also irritating to Masani was Ramgarh's 
successful appeal to the Election Commission that he be permitted 
to retain the 'bicycle' symbol of the Janata Party for the 1962 
elections. This was an indication that Ramgarh considered the 
Bihar unit virtually co-terminous with Janata, which was not far 
off the mark, and, in terms of communicating with the electorate, 


The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

Ramgarh's request made much sense. For Masani, however, this 
was a sign that Ramgarh was not disposed to be a good party man, 
and a plausible interpretation was that Ramgarh was anxious to 
protect his political future — which did not necessarily include 
Swatantra — by retaining the Janata symbol 55 

Throughout 1961 there were serious problems in Bihar, and the 
central office attempted to resolve some of them by ordering a re- 
organization of the state executive, to make it more representative 
of different interests in the state, and by the aforementioned 
technique of delimiting spheres of influence, both of which 
Ramgarh doggedly tried to subvert. The situation became so bad 
that not only were Jankinandan Singh and his group given the 
right to designate the candidates for certain districts and to dis- 
burse certain funds, without reference to Ramgarh, but Ramgarh 
was also requested to stay out of those districts for a specified 
length of time. This caused tremendous resentment among the 
Ramgarh forces, who felt quite rightly that they constituted the 
hard core of the state unit, that Ramgarh was the most effective 
organizer in the state, and that as President of the state unit, he 
ought not to be deprived of the right to screen candidates and to 
travel at will on behalf of the party. There is some evidence to 
show that Ramgarh-designated 'independents' stood against 
Jankinandan Singh's official party nominees, in a move calculated 
to subvert the latter' s position and to show that Ramgarh was the 
only man to be reckoned with in the Bihar unit. After the elections, 
in which Ramgarh fared less well than he had hoped, these accumu- 
lated grievances came to the surface, in a bold move by Ramgarh 
to establish himself as 'king' of Swatantra in Bihar and to weaken 
the position of Munshi and Masani, particularly the latter. 56 

The principal vehicle for Ramgarh's attack on the central office 
was an appeal from the Bihar unit of the party, submitted to the 
General Council of Swatantra while Ramgarh, who was in ill- 
health, was in Europe. There was no doubt, however, that it 
accurately represented Ramgarh's personal sentiments, for it was a 
lengthy catalogue of alleged efforts on the part of the central office 
to meddle in Bihar affairs and to subvert Ramgarh's personal 
position, with the result that Swatantra in Bihar fell far short of 
expectations electorally and was in a state of demoralization and 
disarray. According to the appeal, if only Masani, et al.> would 
have refrained from meddling and allowed Ramgarh to have 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

complete, unrestricted control of the Bihar unit, Swatantra would 
have been much better off — and there were many people outside 
of Bihar who fully agreed with this view. The reason for Masani's 
intervention, according to the appeal, was his difficulty in securing 
a safe seat. 

The matter came to a head early in 1963, when the appeal was 
considered by the General Council, which had also been advised of 
Masani's threat to resign if the appeal were sustained. Each side 
had deputed certain people to line up supporters prior to the 
meeting, which ended with at least a nominal victory for Masani. 57 
Ramgarh, almost obsequiously contrite for having been associated 
with an appeal which was somehow ( !) misconstrued as an attack 
on the party's leaders, was prevailed upon to withdraw it, and this 
action was followed by an explicit vote of confidence in Munshi 
and Masani. All of this fully satisfied none of the principals, but 
Ramgarh, who had been forced to eat a modest amount of crow, 
was far less pleased than Masani. But even many of the more 
modern interests in the Party felt that Ramgarh was too valuable to 
offend and felt that Masani himself had gone too far in provoking 
the Raja. 

In the aftermath of the elections and the bitterness flowing from 
the outcome of the appeal to the General Council, Ramgarh, still 
in control of his bicycle symbol, came to consider a restoration 
of the Janata Party, which had disappeared in name only. In 
addition to long-standing grievances, there was a more recent one. 
During the 1961 election campaign, a very substantial loan was 
secured by the Raja from the Central Bank of India (the 'Tata 
bank', of which Mody was chairman of the board) to purchase jeeps 
for the state unit of the party. After the election, Ramgarh failed to 
commence repaying the loan, claiming that the party as a whole, 
not he personally or the state unit, was responsible for this debt. 
The Central Bank then brought suit against Ramgarh who tried in 
vain to have the court declare the Swatantra Party as the responsible 
party. This incident, which suggests the manner in when the men 
who control funds can seek to bring pressure to bear on local 
leaders, was regarded by Ramgarh as an obvious, malicious move, 
inspired by Masani, to 'break' him. 58 

Relations between Ramgarh and the Swatantra leaders were, 
thus, very poor and the situation in the Bihar unit was just as poor 
and deteriorating. As indices of this, the party's first candidate 



The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

(Parmanand Kejriwal, a businessman) for the Rajya Sab ha was 
not elected, because Swatantra MLAs withheld votes from him, 
while the second candidate (the Raja of Bilaspur) was elected; and 
a similar incident occurred in an election for the state Legislative 
Council, which is also indirectly elected. Moreover, twelve 
Swatantra MLAs, opposed to Ramgarh, defected from the party 
and applied for member ship in the Congress. At this juncture, 
Ramgarh succeeded in passing a resolution to expel Jankinandan 
Singh from the party, and at the same time he belaboured his old 
political adversary, Chief Minister K. B. Sahay, for f attempting to 
kill democracy in the State', by weaning away members of opposi- 
tion parties. This, Ramgarh said, was in direct violation of the 
National Integration Committee's directive concerning political 
parties, and he warned that 'naziism, fascism and some other form 
of dictatorship will emerge if the Opposition parties are wiped out 
one by one'. 59 

The central office of the party demanded a full account of the 
disintegration and ' demoralization ' of the Bihar unit, but this was 
not forthcoming. As a result, the national executive, through 
Munshi, dissolved the state unit, another in a long series of actions 
taken against the state unit by the centre. 60 Coupled with the other 
difficulties with the central office, this action pushed Ramgarh 
even further toward defection. Driven to despair by his difficulties 
with Masani and still nursing a long-standing grudge against 
Sahay, who was then the Chief Minister of Bihar, Ramgarh came 
to feel that the time was ripe to seek entry into the Congress and to 
throw his weight behind Sahay's opponents, the so-called non- 
ministerial wing of the party. This seemed more likely to lead to 
power, pelf and privilege than did continued participation in 
Swatantra; and at the same time it gave Ramgarh hope that he 
could even the score with Sahay. Finally, Ramgarh applied for 
entry into the Congress, and he obviously spoke as well for the 
overwhelming number of Swatantra MPs and MLAs in Bihar. 61 

The national executive discussed these developments and con- 
sidered an appeal from Ramgarh against the decision to dissolve 
the state unit. Confronted with the fact that Ramgarh had already 
asked to be admitted to the Congress, the national executive 
rejected the appeal and expelled Ramgarh and one other state 
leader from the party. The national executive insisted, however, 
that all other state office-holders, MPs, MLAs, etc., were, in its 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

own eyes, still members in good standing in the party, even though 
most of the MLAs had affixed their signatures to the request for 
Congress membership. 62 

The expulsion may seem to have been quite academic, given 
Ramgarh's negotiations with the Congress. It was, however, at 
least marginally important and still required a modicum of courage, 
just as the fairly steady pressure maintained by Masani on Ramgarh 
required some courage. Whatever inspired Masani to bring such 
pressure to bear, it was clear from the outset that it was going to 
antagonize Ramgarh. This meant that Masani, at least, was not so 
desperate to maximize the anti-Congress effort that complete 
laissez faire would be observed in state units. Similarly, the 
expulsion of Ramgarh from the party meant that it would be 
more difficult to re-establish him in Swatantra, if the Congress 
turned a deaf ear, as had been the case until 1966. The party's 
declaration that all other Bihar party men were considered mem- 
bers in good standing, even though many had joined Ramgarh in 
applying for Congress membership, flowed in part from the desire 
to make it easier to reconstitute the Bihar unit, if Kamaraj turned 
the applications down; and Dahyabhai Patel was sent by the party 
to salvage as much as he could in Bihar, in co-operation with some 
'loyalists'. Thus, for all practical purposes, ended the Ramgarh 
affair, as far as Swatantra was concerned; and here, as earlier, the 
party high command was praised by various journalists for re- 
fusing to allow Ramgarh to function unchecked. 63 

The Ramgarh affair points up many aspects of Swatantra's 
internal functioning, as well as of the context in which it functions. 
Masani's sense of party organization, his own personal political 
interests, his influence in the realm of finance, his impatience and 
quick temper, were all evident here. On Ramgarh's side there was 
an imperiousness and arrogance, and a determination to be an 
autocrat, which offended many, both inside and outside the state, 
and which revealed one aspect of the aristocratic ethos at its worst. 
From Rajaji we have the admission that he, Ranga and Munshi — 
and most other Swatantra leaders, for that matter — bent over 
backward to keep Ramgarh happy, in the interests of their anti- 
Congress crusade, subordinating their doubts and criticisms to 
this end. With respect to the Congress, we see that factionalism 
provided an opportunity for exploitation by outside interests and 
that political alinements in India are still extremely fluid. 


— m 

The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

What is most pertinent in the present context is that Ramgarh's 
departure has virtually destroyed Swatantra in Bihar, notwith- 
standing some brave words by the central office. With at least 
five MPs and most of the fifty Swatantra MLAs in his pocket, 
Ramgarh has amply demonstrated that Swatantra's largely de- 
rivative organization is very precarious. Commenting on a reported 
visit by Masani to reorganize the Bihar unit, Ramgarh overstated 
only slightly when he said, * there is nothing left now in this state 
to be reorganized. Mr Masani will have to start from scratch.' 64 The 
same would be true if a few other key aristocrats were to leave the 
party in other states. 


Party finance is of great importance for a variety of obvious reasons. 
Funds are necessary for the normal bureaucratic activities, for the 
inevitable transportation and propaganda involved in an electoral 
campaign, and for other basic requirements. Further, in the 
absence of dedicated volunteers, funds are necessary to secure paid 
workers to perform some of these tasks. 

Beyond this, however, finances are critical. Assuming that a 
party is anxious to contest a sufficient number of seats to make an 
impact — usually enough seats so that it is mathematically possible 
for it to form a government if it wins all or most of them — the 
quantum of funds available determines in large measure the options 
which will be open to the party. If resources are no problem, then 
the party leaders (or those who control the funds) can seek to set 
up those candidates who are most congenial to them, who are 
ideologically sympathetic, reasonably hard workers, etc., or at 
least people who combine some of these qualities with local 
appeal. In the absence of ample funds, however, a high premium is 
put on self-financing candidates or on notable local figures who 
can win with a modest expenditure of funds. In this case, the 
central party organization becomes extremely dependent on such 
candidates and is not likely to establish substantial control over 
them. 65 

Shortage of funds also makes the party less attractive to possible 
recruits. In the case of Swatantra, this is especially true regarding 
some right-wing Congressmen who might well be sympathetic to 
the party but who might also require financial support and some 
modest prospect of getting elected, if they are to join. It is naive to 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

expect veteran politicians to commit their futures to a party— 
especially a new one— if a decent prospect for public office does not 
exist. In sum, this makes it difficult to rally the potential faithful and 
it induces many to bore from within the Congress rather than to 
go into opposition. This helps to account for the fact that Swa- 
tantra has drawn so heavily on elements who either never were in 
the Congress or who were 'power-marginal' within the Congress; 
and it also helps to account for the general tendency of opposition 
parties to put up a number of Congress 'rejects' as candidates. 66 

Thirdly, party discipline and party doctrine are likely victims 
of insufficiency of funds. It is not uncommon in India for a Lok 
Sabha candidate to spend Rs. 75,000 to Rs. 100,000 and even 
quite prosperous people do not look forward to that sort of 
expenditure with equanimity. Those who are willing to pay their 
own way on such a scale are not likely to submit to the discipline of 
a party which does little else but give encouragement and, perhaps, 
lend some modest prestige to a candidacy. 

Notwithstanding the ties of some leading Swatantrites with 
Bombay and other business interests and its reputation as a rich 
man's party, Swatantra confronted all of these problems in acute 
form in 1962. As we have seen, Masani has been anxious to dis- 
abuse people of the idea that the Swatantra treasury is a bottom- 
less pit from which all would-be candidates can be well supplied. 
Rajaji, with considerable justification, said that ' the very rich are in 
the grip of the ruling party'; and as Mody put the matter, most 
businessmen 'are busy cultivating the ruling party' and though 
belaboured, periodically they get their due. 67 G. D. Birla, one of 
India's pre-eminent businessmen, suggested as much when he 
told a business gathering 'that Swatantra politics were not good 
businessmen's polities', and a writer generally hostile to Swatantra 
grudgingly conceded that ' indications are that India's industrialists 
and capitalists do not want to burn their boats with that Party'. 68 
Suffice to say, Swatantra's treasury at the national level was of 
modest proportions even though many of its policy recommenda- 
tions were very congenial to India's capitalists. 

Swatantra, for a time, sought to underscore the superior financial 
position of the Congress by recommending a ban on all corporate 
contributions to political parties; but there was no immediate 
prospect for such a ban. While reiterating the party's position that 
corporate gifts should be banned, Masani said that if they were to 


The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

be permitted, * we want a fair share of it ', and Rajaji and Mody took 
the lead here. 69 

The nature of the Swatantra appeal is instructive in terms of the 
party's aims and its assessment of the prevailing climate of opinion 
in the business communities. Swatantra leaders sent letters to two 
key businessmen — J. R. D. Tata and Dharamsey Khatau — who 
were known to be sympathetic to the party, asking for funds for 
Swatantra. The request emphasized the need for a strong, con- 
stitutional alternative to the Congress, if parliamentary democracy 
were to flourish in India; and Swatantra was, of course, presen- 
ted as that alternative. At the same time, the letter cited the role 
of the Congress in achieving independence and stability in the 
country and encouraged continued support to the Congress for 
that reason. In short, Swatantra leaders tried to provide business- 
men with a rationale for giving to both Swatantra and the Congress, 
and that rationale was not couched solely in terms of explicit 
business self-interest. 70 

When, as expected, Tata and Khatau responded favourably to 
the appeal, Swatantra circulated copies of the Tata-Khatau 
replies, together with a further request for funds by Rajaji or Mody, 
to scores of other businessmen. The latter were thus provided with 
evidence that some leading industrialists were willing to support 
Swatantra and with a reason for doing the same, viz. to help 
develop an opposition party, which only 'incidentally 'happened to 
be markedly more pro-private enterprise than other major parties. 

The result of Swatantra's courtship of the business communities 
fell far below party hopes and needs, and only a few businessmen 
were openly identified with the party, but that was expected. More 
importantly, the party's hopes for a 'fair share' of corporate con- 
tributions were not fulfilled. Between 2 February i960 and 1 March 
1961, the central office received donations of a modest Rs. 250,000. 
The appeal for funds outlined above led to further contributions of 
Rs. 3,200,000 between 1 April 1961 and 1 July 1962, the latter date 
falling after the election period. There were some very substantial 
donations during this period, including: Rs. 400,000 from Tatas, 
Rs. 300,000 from Indian Iron and Steel, Rs. 200,000 from Associ- 
ated Cement, and about Rs. 200,000 from the Martin Burn group 
of industries. There were a number of contributions ranging 
between Rs. 25,000 and Rs. 50,000, mainly from the Bombay- 
Baroda area. Finally, there were contributions of approximately 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

Rs. 1,000,000 from donors who asked to remain anonymous, lest 
their support for Swatantra hurt their relations with the Congress. 
Most of these firms, as well as most of the anonymous donors, gave 
more money to the Congress than to Swatantra, and most of 
India's leading businessmen gave only to the Congress. Symbolic 
of this was Bhailalbhai Patel's claim that a group of Ahmedabad 
textile men whom he approached (at the state level) ultimately 
gave Rs. 750,000 to the Congress but only Rs. 5,000 to Swatantra. 
As far as this author has been able to determine, Nehru's threat to 
reject any gifts from a firm that also gave to Swatantra remained 
an idle one. 71 

As the election approached, it became clear that the projected 
national campaign fund of slightly over Rs. 5,000,000 would not 
materialize. The central office repeatedly sent out the bad news 
that it would have to trim its aspirations and to renege on some 
promises. 72 All candidates for Parliament who were scheduled to 
receive financial aid from the central office were advised that instead 
of the Rs. 40,000-50,000 promised, the available funds permitted 
only Rs. 20,000 to be disbursed. They were also advised, however, 
that a last-minute appeal for funds would be made to increase 
this to Rs. 30,000 per candidate, and the evidence indicates that 
this was finally achieved. 73 

The precise figures are not of great importance, because it is 
evident that Swatantra was in difficult financial straits. Interviews 
and party files make it clear that relations with many state units 
and many key individuals were severely strained, as a result of the 
inability of the central office to meet its financial obligations. 

What was even more distressing to Swatantra leaders was the 
expectation on the part of many wealthy aristocrats that they, too, 
get their ' fair share ' of election funds from the national treasury, 
and the Maharani of Jaipur was among them. To illustrate this 
expectation in a different situation, we need only note the cir- 
cumstances attendant upon the appointment of one of the Maha- 
rani' s personal assistants as the special organizing secretary for 
Rajasthan. In the course of the discussions it was estimated that a 
minimum of Rs. 4,800 would be required to secure the services of 
the man whom they wanted. When asked by a representative of the 
central office if the Maharani would 'foot the entire bill', a state 
leader said that she would not, and would not contribute at all, 
unless the state party and the central office contributed as well. 


The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

When asked if the Maharani would pay half the amount, the state 
leader replied that equal shares alone would probably be acceptable, 
and it was decided that the Maharani, the state party, and the 
central office each contribute Rs. i,6oo per annum for the organi- 
zer's salary and expenses. That such a laborious discussion should 
take place over Rs. 4,800 suggests neither a generous aristocracy 
nor a well-filled central party treasury. 74 What this suggests 
further is that some local notables feel that they cannot only demand 
money but also refuse to submit to party discipline, because 
Swatantra needs them more than they might need Swatantra. 

In light of such developments, it is little wonder that Masani 
emphasized 'two basic reasons' for the party's 'distressing 
experience' in the financial realm: 

The first is the supine and cowardly attitude of the larger part of Big 
Business in India, which, aside from a few honourable exceptions who 
practice enlightened free enterprise, continues to turn its back on a Party 
that stands for a way of life in which free enterprise can flourish, while 
lavishing its financial support on the ruling Party which is progressively 
engaged in destroying a free economy. 

All one can do is to deplore the fact that fear of reprisals from those in 
office under a highly controlled economy and the short-sightedness of 
those who wish to make a quick rupee through obtaining permits and 
licenses should thus combine with an inadequate awareness of the need 
to make sacrifices for a way of life in which one believes. The party 
must persist in its work in the strong conviction that, however unworthy 
the attitude of many of those in business may be, it has to work for the 
cause of a free society of which competitive free enterprise is an integral 

The second reason for the Party's financial plight is the failure of 
Party members to contribute adequately from their own pockets . . . and 
to collect small contributions from those in their respective towns and 
villages. Small contributions in the way of the poor man's mite spread 
over a large number of people can give just as much money and in a 
manner much more satisfying to all concerned than dependence on a 
small number of people with means. 75 

Swatantra may have had relatively wealthy leaders and it may have 
spoken on behalf of men of property in both rural and urban India. 
In these respects alone was it a 'rich man's party'. No one who has 
seen the party's financial records would conclude that it was 
generously supported by India's richest men. 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

In the months between the 1962 elections and Nehru's death, 
and particularly after the Chinese invasion and its aftermath, 
Swatantra's financial future seemed brighter, although aspirations 
could well have run higher as well. Reports from Baroda and Jaipur, 
for example, indicated greater sympathy and support for Swa- 
tantra from some locally prominent businessmen. Also important 
was the increasing support from Ahmedabad textile interests 
which had been very reticent prior to the 1962 elections. 76 This is 
particularly important, because it could help to tilt the balance in 
Gujarat more toward the modern, capitalist side (both urban and 
rural) than it is elsewhere. 

This improved prospect flowed in part from Swatantra's 
respectable showing in 1962, coupled with a certain post-invasion 
boldness on the part of anti-Nehru and anti-leftist forces. Further- 
more, those who had supported Swatantra seemed to have * gotten 
away with it', although there have been arguments to the con- 
trary. However, to capitalize on this, Swatantra could not rest on 
its past laurels. Its organization had to be stabilized and to be kept 
trim, if the party were to build upon the accumulated grievances 
of the population. Yet, in many areas, this was not done. Stagna- 
tion has set in in Raj as than and in some other states, and the unit 
in Bihar has disintegrated. This is not the sort of situation which is 
likely to induce India's captains of industry to 'burn their boats' 
with Swatantra in 1967 any more than they were willing to in 1962. 
Furthermore, business support is contingent upon another matter 
in which Swatantra has been deficient: returning its ablest pro- 
private enterprise spokesmen to the Lok Sabha, and this in turn 
depends on the ability of the more modern wing of the party to 
assert itself in the face of the more conservative elements. In short, 
Swatantra must consolidate and strengthen its position and it 
must send more modern spokesmen to the Lok Sabha if it is to 
stand a chance of improving its financial position markedly. 
Furthermore, the behaviour of the Congress toward private 
enterprise also cannot be ignored in these calculations. 77 Few, if 
any Swatantra leaders have betrayed much optimism on any of 
these points. 

The fact that business is supporting Swatantra to some modest 
extent does, however, give the party an edge over the Jan Sangh, 
whose volunteer cadres make fewer dollars go a good deal further. 
In this area, one can see a multi-sided battle: within Swatantra, 


The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

between the conservatives and the more modern interests, and 
between the Jan Sangh's militant, more disciplined but poorer 
cadres and these Swatantra forces. 


The broad relationship between finance, organization, and candi- 
datures in Swatantra's short history owes much to (i) the limited 
funds, given the party's aspirations; (2) the Swatantra estimate of 
the Indian political situation; and (3) Masani's determination to 
create a reasonably disciplined and ideologically committed party. 
Under any circumstances, Masani would have been anxious to use 
the financial resources of the central treasury to discipline the 
party, by screening candidates before funds were allocated. How- 
ever, this tendency was reinforced because of the shortage of 
funds; and Swatantra's view that the seat of really pernicious 
power was New Delhi, not the state capitals, gave an important 
twist to the national party's effort to affect candidacies. 78 

The approach decided upon by the Swatantra elite restricted 
central treasury funds to approximately one hundred screened 
Lok Sabha candidates and constituencies and left it to the approved 
nominees to decide how, if at all, to help the aspiring MLAs in 
their constituencies. This was consonant with the party's desire 
to 'go for the jugular'; it enabled the national leadership to cope 
with (at some peril, to be sure) the almost universal tendency for 
local leaders to exaggerate local strength, and to ignore the 
'careerists' who wanted Swatantra tickets and who claimed they 
were sure of election, if only the party gave them ample funds; and 
it was a potential asset in the battle to overcome parochialism, in 
the interests of a national, anti-statist effort. Depending on how 
much leverage Masani could muster, this approach also could be 
favourable to the modernists in the party, who generally lacked 
substantial political roots of their own. 

This decision was not an unmixed blessing, for a number of 
reasons. For example, happy though some of the leaders might 
have been with a small but dedicated cadre of MPs, it was evident 
to all concerned that for ' psychological ' reasons, many more than 
one hundred MP candidates would have to be set up. In part, 
Swatantra hoped to meet the psychological problem by having a far 
larger number file nomination papers, with the understanding that 

12 177 ESP 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

many candidates would be withdrawn at the last minute, to relieve 
the central treasury of any financial obligations. This principle was 
to be applied at the state level, too, where it was felt that the party 
ought to nominate at least enough candidates so that, if all or most 
of them won, it would be possible to form a Swatantra ministry. 
In both cases, however, the desire to make a respectable showing 
over a wide area, combined with local pressures, led Swatantra to 
spread its limited resources too thin, which probably cost the party 
a few seats. 79 

This was not the only problem, however. By emphasizing 
parliamentary constituencies, the central office was asking a host 
of local aspirants to subordinate their own ambitions (mostly to sit 
in the assemblies) to the goal of securing more MPs; and even if the 
full complement of MLA candidates were to be set up in the 
approved constituencies, the funds were still earmarked for the 
MPs. Not very surprisingly, such self-sacrifice was not easy to 
secure, and many local leaders expressed their strong dislike for the 
approach favoured by the central office. 80 Also, by insisting that all 
supported MP candidates had to be given prior clearance by the 
parliamentary board, the national leadership (especially Masani) 
opened itself to the charge of meddling in state affairs. This led to 
much strain on relations between the national leadership and the 
state units. 

Moreover, shortage of funds, coupled with the desire to set up a 
respectable number of candidates, put a heavy premium on self- 
financing candidacies, in order to free central party funds for 
'needier' cases. As Duverger has pointed out, 'investiture' in such 
cases is relatively easy to secure; 81 and, as we have suggested, ideo- 
logical commitment and party discipline are likely to be victims of 
heavy reliance on the local notables who are likely to be self- 
financing. Finally— and this is central to an understanding of 
Swatantra's financial-organizational problems as they relate to 
social bases — the reliance on local notables and self-financing 
candidacies hurt the party's efforts to secure financial support from 
big business. The Swatantra modernists in particular found them- 
selves in a vicious circle involving finance, big business and the 
aristocrats, and a breaking of this circle is one of Masani's greatest 
personal concerns. 

The situation in West Bengal illustrates the problem of finance, 
organization and candidacies in one form. A key figure in the 


The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

nascent West Bengal Swatantra party was Chatterj ee, a man who 
could be a valuable asset in the Lok Sabha', and Swatantra was as 
anxious as Chatter jee himself to win a seat. However, Chatter jee 
and the West Bengal unit wanted to contest a very large number of 
seats, which the central office, on the basis outlined above, refused 
to countenance. The organization in Bengal was rudimentary, 
local funds severely limited, and derivative support (through local 
notables) minimal, and the central office was unable to pour vast 
sums into any state, let alone such an unpromising one. The 
parliamentary board announced that it would authorize and 
support only one Lok Sabha candidate in Bengal, or, if Chatter jee 
were self-financing, it would authorize two (supporting only one 
financially, of course). The outcome of all this was the resignation 
of Chatterj ee from the party and considerable strain in relations 
between the state unit and the central office. 82 

Chatterj ee was apparently the only leading figure who defected 
as a consequence of these financial-electoral problems, but in many 
other ways the same issue intruded. Ruthnaswamy was repeatedly 
denied additional funds for his 1962 campaign; the party leaders 
in Madhya Pradesh — where the organization never really took 
shape, even on a derivative basis — were ostensibly not given any 
election funds at all, in spite of repeated requests; and com- 
parable cases could be cited from most other states. It is under- 
standable that people should turn to the central party and that they 
should be disturbed when their requests are turned down; but the 
Swatantra files indicate that his occurred on a very wide and in many 
ways damaging scale. 83 

Relations with the unit in Orissa provide one example of a 
general finance-related strain within the Swatantra Party. As noted, 
one element in the decision of the Ganatantra Parishad to merge 
was the desire to be placed on a sounder financial footing in order 
to fight the Patnaik-led Congress. However, some leaders of the 
Parishad/ Swatantra have felt that the hoped-for financial benefits 
of merger have not materialized and may not be forthcoming, 
even though Swatantra did give a substantial sum for the Parishad 
Lok Sabha candidates in 1962. In the absence of ample financial 
support, it may well seem more attractive to some Orissa leaders 
to reconstitute the Parishad. This would enable them to concen- 
trate on local issues and be free of the association with the 'rich 
man's party'. There is no immediate prospect of such a defection 

179 12-2 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

in Orissa, but once again the danger to Swatantra is magnified 
because of the dependence on Patna and Kalahandi for the party's 
position in Orissa. It goes without saying that neither organiza- 
tionally nor financially could this be called a satisfactory situation 
for the Swatantra Party. 

Another absolutely critical aspect of Swatantra's financial prob- 
lems and its relations with big business and the aristocracy turned 
on the matter of candidacies. A number of leading industralists 
had expressed a willingness, and some a determination, to support 
Swatantra, on the condition that certain key individuals, like 
Masani, Dandekar, and Shroff were reasonably sure to sit in the 
Lok Sabha. Some industrialists specifically tied their prospective 
support to the candidacies of the more modern Swatantra leaders. 
However, such men find it difficult to locate even reasonably * safe ' 
constituencies without the benevolent assistance of local notables. 
Thus in 1957 Sir Homy Mody ran as an RRP- Independent from 
Rajasthan and R. V. Murthy, of the Eastern Economist and another 
more modern Swatantrite, ran as a Jan Sangh-Independent in the 
same state — both being defeated. Masani himself was returned from 
a tribal constituency from Bihar— about as far away as he could 
get physically and psychologically from the highly westernized 
Parsi family in which he grew up in Bombay. 

Swatantra did, of course, contain within its ranks a number of 
people (i.e. the aristocrats) who could have helped to return these 
men, had they themselves been willing to forego their personal 
ambitions, or at least those of relatives. The national leadership 
sought such co-operation but generally found it wanting. Masani's 
case is the most pertinent because he was not only the party's 
General-Secretary but he was also the most able parliamentarian 
in the party's ranks. 

At one or another juncture, Masani and those who were anxious 
to return him to Parliament considered two or three constituencies 
in Ramgarh's area, at least three in or around the former Jaipur 
state, among others in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, where 
aristocrats could have helped him. In most cases Masani expected 
there to be more enthusiasm for his candidacy than was actually 
evinced. In almost every instance he was deterred by doubts 
expressed by the local notables concerning his electoral appeal, 
and in some cases there were quid pro quos demanded, which he 
found distasteful. In Rajasthan, for example, Dausa (won by 


The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

Maharajkumar Prithviraj of Jaipur), Sikar and Pali were mentioned 
as possible seats for Masani; and Dungarpur, who thought Dausa 
the safest, estimated a plurality of between 5,000 to 10,000 votes 
for Masani. Dungarpur insisted, however, that as an outsider whose 
Hindi was poor, Masani would face an uphill fight, and the Maha- 
raja of Jaipur agreed to give only two or three talks on Masani's 
behalf, instead of the more sustained campaigning for which 
Masani had hoped. 84 

Much the same situation obtained in Bihar, with the added 
problem of the poor relations between Masani and Ramgarh. It is 
generally conceded that Ramgarh offered the Giridih and other 
constituencies to Masani (who claimed that unacceptable quid pro 
quos were demanded) but that no final decision was taken in the 
matter through August 1961. Ramgarh did not submit a list of Lok 
Sabha candidates from the Hazaribagh area, but he assured Masani 
that every effort would be made to find a secure seat. However, it 
was noted by the Bihar leadership that ' there was vehement 
opposition from all sides to the proposal of giving a seat to Shri 
Masani on two main grounds' — fear that the change in nomen- 
clature from Janata to Swatantra would confuse the electorate and 
that well-known local people could alone overcome this obstacle, 
and fear that an outsider simply would not have sufficient appeal 
to win the Lok Sabha seat and to carry the MLAs with him. 85 A 
letter containing the assessment was sent to Masani, to which he 
sent a reply urging Ramgarh not to trouble himself further. Rajaji 
was, however, most anxious to have Masani sit in the Lok Sabha 
and he kept a modest amount of pressure on Ramgarh. In late 
September, however, the internal dissensions in Bihar and growing 
suspicions about Masani on Ramgarh's part led Masani to write 
to Rajaji as follows: 'I feel far from happy about being beholden 
to the Raja Saheb for being put up from one of the two Hazaribagh 
constituencies . . . Personally I would rather not stand for Parlia- 
ment at all if this is the atmosphere in which one has to function.' 86 
Shortly thereafter relations became so strained that for a time, at 
least, the question of a safe seat from Bihar did not arise in any 
serious fashion. 

Masani's election prospects seemed somewhat brighter when, 
after considering some constituencies in Raj as than, he apparently 
came to an understanding with the Raja of Bilaspur (Himachal 
Pradesh), one of Ramgarh's relatives. However, according to 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

Masani, some last-minute subterfuge, related to the Bilaspur- 
Ramgarh tie, weakened his prospects there and he claims to have 
withdrawn his candidacy. None the less, in the official election 
returns Masani' s name appears, although he did not campaign, 
and he is listed as a very poor second. 87 

Even this did not put an end to the matter. After the elections, 
efforts by Masani and his friends continued unabated. The sug- 
gestion was made in at least two cases where Swatantrites had 
won both a Lok Sabha and an assembly seat — the Maharajkumar 
of Kutch and Ramgarh's mother — that the Lok Sabha seat be 
resigned, to permit Masani to stand in a by-election. Here, the 
role of finance in connection with organization is once again 
evident, because at least in the Bihar case a prominent Bombay 
businessman agreed to finance the by-election if Masani were 
permitted to stand. Yet even with this sort of assurance, co-opera- 
tion was not forthcoming, even though some Swatantra aristocrats 
were notably uninterested in spending much time in Parliament 
and/or were incapable of helping the party as much as Masani 
could have in that forum. 88 

Further details of these efforts need not detain us, save for the 
following points : relations between Masani and some state leaders 
were severely strained as a result of this activity; no one seemed to 
respond eagerly to his candidacy, while on Masani's part warnings 
about his position as an outsider and personal doubts made him 
reluctant to enter some constituencies in which he might have 
stood; and it was only in mid- 1963 that Masani was elected to the 
Lok Sabha from Rajkot district in Gujarat. Here he was somewhat 
less of an outsider and his candidacy was supported not only by all 
of the top Swatantra leaders (including the Maharani of Jaipur, 
Dungarpur, the Maharajkumar of Kutch, the Maharaja of Devgadh- 
Baria, who solicited the Rajput vote), but by some local aristocrats 
(notably members of the families of Rajkot, Jasdan andWankaner), 
the recently victorious J. B. Kripalani, and A. B. Vajpayee, a 
Jan Sangh leader and MP (Rajya Sabha), who deployed the local 
Sangh cadres to good effect. 89 In short, it was a long, hard battle to 
fight, in order that Swatantra's ablest parliamentarian could sit in 
the Lok Sabha, and the victory was by no means due to Swatantra 
strength alone. 90 

While Masani's case was the most important, it was by no means 
the only one. Dandekar, also a Bombay man, had also to find a 


The Swat antra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

suitable constituency; and he finally stood from Gonda, Mankapur's 
district in UP. In a very close election, he was declared loser on a 
recount, after winning on the original count; but he finally gained 
the seat after a judicial inquiry revealed improprieties on behalf of 
the Congress candidate. The point here, however, is that some local 
Swatantrites resented his candidacy and, in some cases, their weak 
efforts on Dandekar's behalf reflected this. 91 Moreover, with 
Mankapur's death and the new Raja's loyalty to the Congress, 
Gonda was not even seriously considered as a possible seat for 
Dandekar, who has once again had to embark on the great search. 
As of November 1966, Dandekar had still not found a seat, although 
there were reports (1) of an abortive approach to Devgadh-Baria 
to facilitate Dandekar's return from Panchmahals in Gujarat, and 
(2) of the possibility that he might stand from Jamnagar (also in 
Gujarat), where Swatantra expected much help from the newly 
recruited Thakur of Dhrol. There was, moreover, a report that 
Dandekar might well not contest in the general elections, but 
would stand in a by-election for a resigned seat, much as Masani 
tried to do in 1962. Thus Dandekar, one of Swatantra's very ablest 
spokesmen in the Lok Sabha, is in the same boat with Masani and 
some other modern Swatantrites. 92 

In analogous cases, Swatantra MLAs showed little enthusiasm 
to use their votes to return such men to the Rajya Sabha, although 
it is far from clear that Masani, at least, would have tolerated the 
indignity of entering Parliament via this route. In any event, 
Rajasthan MLAs voted for the Maharaja of Jaipur, nominally an 
independent, rather than for a declared Swatantrite of any stripe. 
This may seem only natural (Rajputs supporting a friendly Rajput) 
but necessary (as a reward for his help or perhaps to bring him 
into the party), but it did mean that a Rajya Sabha seat was lost 
to Swatantra and to its modern wing in particular. 93 And it should 
be recalled that Jaipur did not seem notably co-operative in the 
matter of supporting Masani's own candidacy from Rajasthan. 
Kindred factors were at work when Kejriwal, a businessman openly 
in Swatantra, was asked to withdraw from one Rajya Sabha race in 
favour of Darbhanga, also an independent; and in the death throes 
of the Bihar unit, Kejriwal, Swatantra's first candidate for the 
Rajya Sabha, was not elected, while Bilaspur, the second candidate 
was. 94 

Swatantra was thus caught in something of a vicious circle. The 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

leaders felt that a strong showing had to be made in 1962, and the 
aristocrats provided the possibility of a short-cut to success. But 
this success was obviously purchased at a very high price, in terms 
of party organization, discipline, legislative performance, and so 
on. Moreover, because local notables displayed little enthusiasm 
for facilitating the return of more modern Swatantrites to the 
Lok Sabha, Swatantra's financial position suffered, because its 
candidates were not widely acceptable to many people who were 
anxious to contribute, if only the right candidates were put up. 
Thus, Swatantra's financial future depends in part on the nature 
of the organization — more specifically on the ability of the more 
modern wing to assert its position, at least in the matter of some 
key candidacies to the Lok Sabha — just as its organization obviously 
depends in part on its financial position. It was no accident, then, 
that two men in Swatantra's inner circle, when asked where the 
party was best organized in terms of its fundamental principles, 
cited Bombay City, Delhi, Gujarat, and Mysore, and omitted 
Rajasthan, Orissa, and Bihar. And it was no accident, either, that 
of the last three, Orissa was judged the most satisfactory. 95 

More important than this evidence of distress with the nature of 
the party in certain areas are certain post- 1962 developments which 
are obviously designed to escape this multi-faceted impasse. First, 
the party declared its intention to become a * cadre ' rather than a 
'mass' party, a decision which in part reflects the feeling that the 
Swatantra message could not be effectively communicated to the 
masses. 96 This meant that the party would try to recruit a smaller 
number of 'better' people, who alone would be dues-paying, card- 
carrying members and who alone could vote in party elections. 
Certain organizational and propagandizing tasks were also assigned 
to these people, at least in principle. 97 From the standpoint of the 
national party, however, the key point was that membership cards 
for such people were to be issued only by the central office, directly 
to the prospective worker (by registered post). The central office 
hoped that this technique would enable it (1) to minimize bogus 
membership; (2) to have on hand an up-to-date list of active 
workers; (3) to have some information (to be forwarded by the 
state unit with the application for membership) on them; and (4) to 
have more direct access to party workers, without relying on the 
state leadership as heavily. 98 

The second major step, foreshadowed in 1962, was the recom- 


The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

mendation for electoral strategy. Once again, this involved the 
selection of a number of Lok Sabha seats upon which the national 
party would concentrate its resources, but there was to be an 
added effort. Constituencies and prospective candidates were to 
be designated well in advance of the elections; a three man group, 
including the prospective candidate, was to supervise the * cultiva- 
tion' of the constituency; and satisfactory reports of work and of 
disbursement of central office funds were required for continua- 
tion of financial support and for retention of the prospective candi- 
date as the final candidate. This represented a partial retreat from 
an idea that had once been mooted, viz. that the central office itself 
designate and pay special organizers to cultivate constituencies; 
but, even so, the adopted method has the clear purpose of strengthen- 
ing central party control over Lok Sabha candidacies, at least. A 
major aim of this is, of course, the developing of constituencies for 
Swatantra's modern men; and it is no secret that several business- 
men assured Masani of support for this venture, with this specific 
purpose in mind." 

As of this writing (1966), the effects of this strategy are by no 
means clear. In some cases, constituencies have been cultivated 
without a prospective candidate being designated — either because 
no satisfactory candidate was at the moment available or because 
a potential candidate did not want to commit himself before the 
constituency was 'tested'. Elsewhere, central office aid has been 
terminated, owing to the prospective candidate's failure to submit 
the required reports and financial statements — action which goes 
beyond anything that was done in 1962. Finally, this strategy (and 
the effort to control membership more closely) has already been a 
source of irritation to many state and local leaders, while at the 
same time, it has not solved the problems of a man like Dandekar. 100 
But Masani has none the less made it clear that he regards this 
approach as indispensable, if Swatantra is to be placed on a proper 
organizational and ideological footing. 

A third significant post- 1962 development, related to this one, 
concerns the prospective candidates. Here one can see a fairly 
strenuous effort to find seats for more of the administrative-pro- 
fessional-business elements in the party; and one can see as well a 
heightened feeling on the part of businessmen that they themselves 
should stand for the Lok Sabha, to assure the type of representation 
they desire. For example, Swatantra designated as Lok Sabha 


The Swalantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

candidates in Gujarat the following group from the ranks of its 
more modern men: Masani; Dandekar; leading Bombay indus- 
trialists Viren Shah and Manu Amersey; Pashabhai Patel, a 
relative of Sardar Patel and a prominent Baroda industrialist who 
contested as an independent in the two previous general elections; 
Piloo Mody — Sir Homy's son, a Bombay architect; the afore- 
mentioned H. M. Patel and C. C. Desai, both ICS retired; U. N. 
Mahida, a retired chief engineer of Bombay State; and economics 
professor R. K. Amin. There was also considerable pressure 
brought to bear on Nanu Amin, a very prominent and highly 
respected Baroda industrialist, to stand for the Lok Sabha, but 
this was resisted. Throughout this effort, Vadilal Mehta, Ahmed- 
abad industrial tycoon and former Treasurer of the Congress, 
played a major role for the Swatantra Party. 101 

Comparable developments can be seen in Rajasthan as well. 
Chiranjit Rai, another wealthy industrialist, was designated to stand 
from Dausa, a seat won by one of the Maharajkumars of Jaipur in 
1962. 102 More important, however, was the decision finally taken 
by R. K. Birla to stand for the Lok Sahha from Jhunjhunu, where 
the Swatantra candidate in 1962 was a prominent Rajput jagirdar 
and for which constituency the same man had already received the 
party's blessings for 1967. It was not clear whether Birla would stand 
officially as a Swatantra candidate or as an independent using the 
Swatantra symbol; and there was always the possibility of a with- 
drawal under pressure. But Birla, as of November 1966, had re- 
portedly assured the Swatantra Party that he would not stand as a 
Congressman, that he would be entirely self-financing, and that he 
would support, financially and otherwise, the Swatantra MLA 
candidates from his district. Whatever the outcome, even a tenta- 
tive decision by a Birla to stand against the Congress is something 
of a landmark in Indian business politics ; and the willingness of the 
local aristocrats to stand aside in two Jaipur-area constituencies is 
also notable. Needless to say, considerable pressure had been 
brought to bear by Congress leaders on G. D. Birla, patriarch of 
this industrial empire, to dissuade R. K. Birla from this venture 
or to persuade him to support Congress MLAs, the apparent quid 
pro quo being the absence of a Congress opponent in the Lok 
Sabha contest. 103 

Whatever the outcome of these specific contests may be, it is 
clear that business interests (both inside and outside of Swatantra) 


The Swatantra Coalition: The Balance of Power 

are not content to leave the field to aristocrats, Gandhians, et al. 
who have not proved to be sufficiently attentive to the needs of the 
private sector industrialists. Masani has also underscored his per- 
sonal desire to build an effective, articulate, and less conservative 
Lok Sabha contingent by pressing for the inclusion of some major 
ex-ICS figures in the list of prospective candidates. Lest the 
significance of this be overstated, we must note that in most of 
the specific cases mentioned above, the prospective candidates were 
local men or had strong local ties, which still does not solve the 
problems of men like Masani and Dandekar. Still, the significance 
should not be missed, either. Through the power of the rupee and 
through strenuous personal efforts by Masani in the central office, 
the more modern elements in Swatantra are trying to make them- 
selves felt, and to a modest extent they have succeeded. This may 
be more a victory for private enterprise than for liberalism; but in 
the intra-party battle between the conservatives and the non- 
conservatives, this is in itself an important development. 104 




After a detailed examination of the views of the Swatantra inner 
circle and of the elements which grouped around it, it may seem 
redundant to add a discussion of Swatantra's formal doctrine. 
However, a consideration of party doctrine will provide a clue, if 
nothing more, to the basis on which the coalition was brought 
together and to the framework within which the components were 
presumably to function. It will indicate which of the diverse per- 
spectives present in the party has been emphasized for public 
purposes. That is, the formal doctrine represents what at least 
some doctrinal leaders would like party members to be, in terms of 
personal commitment and in terms of public image. And even if 
there be a substantial gap between formal doctrine and the views 
of individuals or groups within the party, the formal doctrine may 
exert a disciplinary influence, as public ideology often does. These 
are not irrelevant matters. 


Rajaji, in responding to Nehru's charge that it was impossible to 
know what Swatantra stood for because it contained diverse 
elements, once said that 'the straight and easy path to understand 
our party is to read what has been said in the twenty-one short 
articles of the party's foundation document. There is no ambiguity 
or prolixity in it. n The heart of the party's doctrine is, to be sure, 
embodied in these few 'fundamental principles', and in elabora- 
tions of and additions to these. Unhappily, these would not suffice 
to define the nature and role of Swatantra, even if they were 
crystal-clear; and the truth is that the fundamental principles are 
by no means as unambiguous as Rajaji has asserted. Many of the 
conflicts and tensions revealed by a study of the social bases of the 
party emerge in the realm of doctrine as well. None the less, since 
attention must be paid to the official pronouncements of the party, 
the twenty-one points serve as the appropriate starting-place. 

If one had to categorize them en bloc and briefly, the twenty-one 
points could be called predominantly classical liberal in tone, 


Swatantra Doctrine 

suggesting a moderate, non-traditional outlook. They reflect the 
general aversion of the national leaders to reactionary and to 
authoritarian nationalist views; and they reflect, as well, the 
influence of the modernists in the realm of doctrine. The Indian 
heritage, especially via Gandhi, is also present, but in an under- 
stated way; and socialist rhetoric, also virtually inescapable in 
contemporary India, also intrudes. In the latter case, too, however, 
it is important to stress the limited extent to which it does so. 

The fundamental principles are important, moreover, not only 
for what they say and how they say it, but also for what they do 
not say. Much is excluded from their purview, and on all such 
issues, party members are permitted to advance any position not 
inconsistent with a fairly narrow reading of the twenty-one points. 
Significantly, foreign policy, linguistic policy, and religious and 
cultural issues in detail, receive little or no explicit attention within 
the framework of the fundamental principles. This reflects the 
conviction that the principal task is that of opposing Congress 
'statism', and that those who can agree on this should not be 
divided by other issues deemed to be less significant. The extent to 
which this can be successfully accomplished is one of the most 
important problems in evaluating the position of the Swatantra 

The liberal aspects of the twenty-one points are abundantly 
evident. The first, for example, calls for equality for all, 'without 
distinction of religion, caste, occupation, or political affiliation'. 2 
This is followed by a defence of 'individual initiative, enterprise 
and energy' in all areas, with emphasis on the economic sphere. 
The subsequent points are best described as rigorously anti-statist, 
with attacks on 'the policy of Statism', 'expropriation', 'the con- 
ferment of more and more powers on the officials of the Govern- 
ment', 'collectivization and bureaucratic management of the rural 
economy', 'crippling taxation, abnormal deficit financing, and 
foreign loans which are beyond the capacity of the country to 
repay', and so forth. The party also condemns 'official directives' 
on education, 'political pressure. . .on officials', the 'wastefulness 
and inefficiency' inherent in state 'controls and official manage- 
ment ' and ' the pervading sense of uncertainty that has been created 
by the present policies of the Government'. In calling for 'mini- 
mum interference by the State' in all spheres, with emphasis again 
on economic affairs, Swatantra's leaders urge the restoration of 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

private initiative 'in land, ship and factory alike' and emphasize 
'freedom of property ', 'just compensation for any property com- 
pulsorily acquired ', and ' strict adherence ' to all basic constitutional 
rights. To this last end, there is a plea for 'the full play of the 
powers of judicial review given to the Courts by the Constitution \ 3 
All of this is reminiscent of the 'night-watchman' state, and party 
men are not only fond of quoting Hayek but also have insisted (in 
the 1962 manifesto) that 'that government is best which governs 
least ' and that ' the business of the State is not business but govern- 
ment'. This is entirely consistent with Rajaji's assertion that 'the 
Swatantra Party stands for the protection of the individual against 
the increasing trespasses of the State. It is an answer to the 
challenge of the so-called Socialism of the Indian Congress party.' 4 
Masani, arguing from a different vantage point, none the less 
concurs in the basic judgment, viz. that 'under the cloak of a 
socialist pattern, the new Brahmins of New Delhi are trying to 
create a new class of sudras who will remain hewers of wood and 
drawers of water for the greater glory of what Djilas...has 
rightly described as the new class of State capitalists '. 5 

This basic conviction is translated into a variety of specific 
proposals on topical issues. Among those which the party has 
stressed, at one juncture or another, are: (1) the creation of an 
Ombudsman to hear grievances against and in general to police the 
bureaucracy; (2) the creation of a non-political board, along the 
lines of the Election Commission, to assign all permits and licences 
necessary under present government legislation; (3) an early 
termination of the state of emergency declared during the Chinese 
invasion, and, related to this, greater discrimination in the use of 
the preventive detention law; and (4) a voluntary departure from 
office by the Congress six months prior to a general election, so 
that the ruling party could not use the agencies of government to 
enhance its electoral prospects. The last of these was naive, if not 
preposterous, but the others have received much more than passing 
attention of a serious nature. However, none of these issues is 
particularly likely to animate very many people: they are, by and 
large, issues for the intelligentsia, as is the general plea concerning 
the need for an opposition party to help establish viable constitu- 
tional-democratic procedures. 

Getting closer to mass issues, the Swatantra Party also took 
exception to a number of measures adopted as a consequence of the 


Swatantra Doctrine 

Chinese invasion. Included here were the rise in the level of taxa- 
tion, a compulsory savings scheme, and the gold control order 
whereby it became illegal for anyone to have or to process gold of 
twenty-two carats, which had theretofore been the Indian norm. 
The last, in particular, was given a mass twist, through the argu- 
ment that it was an attack not only on the large numbers of gold- 
smiths but on the customary practices of all Hindu women, who 
prized their twenty-two carat gold jewelry for the security it 
provided, if for no other reason. The party tried to gain maximum 
advantage, however, from the proposed seventeenth amendment to 
the constitution, by which, in its view, the meaning of the word 
' estate ' — theretofore applicable only to such tenures as jagirdari 
and zamindari holdings — would be expanded to include ryotwari 
tenures. In the Swatantra view, this violated the basic right of 
private property by removing questions of * public purpose ' and 
compensation from the purview of the courts, and, it was argued, 
was the stepping-stone to collectivization of agriculture. Granted, 
the threat was not palpably felt, but it was the party's hope that by 
tying this to land ceiling policy, tax policy, and the like, a pattern 
of action against free agriculture could be delineated. And this, at 
least, would make it a broad middle-class issue. 6 

The Gandhian element is not absent, but it provides only a thin 
veneer on this essentially liberal document. The fundamental 
principles call for a reaffirmation of 'the cardinal teachings of 
Gandhiji', but these are not spelled out in any elaborate way. 
The party also wants ' to foster and maintain spiritual values and 
preserve what is good in our culture and tradition ', but this is also 
not spelled out. However, these formulations allow Gandhians 
and others of a more conservative stripe to £ read in' virtually 
anything they want, and this is precisely what Rajaji and others 
have done. Thus Rajaji, Munshi, and others may defend much of 
the Indian tradition, on the grounds that ' survival is a proof of 
fitness, not of worthlessness ', 7 and one prominent Swatantrite in 
Andhra can condemn the Hindu Code legislation * as it has not only 
tried to root out the Shastraic Principles and doctrines of Dharma 
(Religion) but important principles of health and medical science'. 8 
On the other hand, Pasricha and Ruthnaswamy can belabour the 
very same things as not worthy of preservation. 9 This is but one 
aspect of the ambiguity of the twenty-one points, wherein almost 
diametrically opposed opinions can be held by members of the 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

same party, each ostensibly being blessed by the obscure wording 
of the fundamental principles. This down-grading of social issues 
in favour of a politico-economic one is reminiscent of the Congress' 
own problem during the pre-independence days, when many 
leaders insisted that all social questions should be avoided in the 
interest of a maximum anti-imperialist effort. Swatantra is 
obviously attempting to do much the same thing. The Swatantra 
hope is clear; but it is also clear that the failure to define that which 
is quintessentially Gandhian or Indian— whether it be in terms of 
prohibition, ban on cow slaughter, ayurvedic medicine, cottage 
industries, village institutions generally — will irritate if not 
alienate many for whom anti-statism is not sufficient as a battle cry. 

Virtually the only specific Gandhian item which is developed is 
' the principle of trusteeship adumbrated by Gandhi ' which reflects 
'the sense of moral obligation, the pride, satisfaction, and fulfil- 
ment felt by individuals in serving others, which are inherent in 
our tradition'. In general, this concept implies an abandonment 
of coercion, including legislative 'coercion', as an instrument of 
policy and a reliance on voluntary use of advantages by the rich, the 
wise and the well-born in particular, for the good of society as a 
whole. Rajaji makes this explicit in his assertion that ' the new party 
does not believe that legislative compulsion, any more than 
violence. . .can contribute to true or lasting human happiness. We 
must depend on the moral sense of the people in order to equalize 
without destroying freedom.' 10 

It is important to understand that this particular item, while not 
without its appeal to dedicated Gandhians as well as to the more 
self-interested people whom it protects, was not only included 
largely at Rajaji's insistence but also that it played a larger part in 
the earlier drafts of the party's doctrinal statement, viz. a fourteen- 
point manifesto presented at the Madras meeting and an eighteen- 
point draft submitted for consideration at the Bombay (Prepara- 
tory) Convention. 11 The fact that it stood first among the original 
principles but was subsequently ' demoted ', in favour of a more 
liberal statement about individual equality reflects, in part, the 
hand of Masani, among others, who soon became involved in 
doctrinal matters. 12 Here, too, is an indication that the funda- 
mental principles are by no means as unambiguous as Rajaji might 
like; and here again is evidence of liberal assertiveness, now in the 
realm of doctrine. 


Swatantra Doctrine 

The emphasis on ' decentralized distribution of industry ' also 
has a Gandhian ring (and Rajaji and Ranga, among others would 
give it a Gandhian interpretation), but this is somewhat misleading. 
Swatantra's leading ideologians, especially Masani and his Bombay 
colleagues, have in mind the decentralization of larger-scale, 
modern enterprise, not the maintenance of primitive technology 
such as characterizes village India and as advanced by the extreme 
Gandhians. Thus, while Ranga has objected even to the smaller- 
scale introduction of power looms on a local level, 13 the party 
4 believes in a balanced development of capital-goods industries, 
organized consumer goods industries, and rural industries that 
afford supplementary employment in the small-scale processing of 
the products of agriculture'. There is no defence of small-scale, 
handicraft production because of any virtues it is presumed to 
foster; and the above principles presumably would not justify the 
creation of rural industries, with restrictions on urban output, 
simply to give supplementary income to villages. 14 Here is where 
Masani, Mody, Vaidya, and other businessmen come into conflict 
with Rajaji and Ranga, regardless of the ' clear' implications of the 
fundamental principles. 15 

One of the most critical aspects of Swatantra doctrine is that 
which defines the proper role of state intrusion into the economy 
and into social life more generally, and a number of introductory 
points are relevant here. First, the doctrine of trusteeship severely 
blunts the edge of legislative efforts to close the gap between 
India's wealthy and her poor, to effect social reforms, and the like. 
This is reinforced in the economic sense by the party's view that 
taxation is already * crippling'. Secondly, Swatantra's Lok Sahha 
votes against the five-year plans and the condemnation of the 
Planning Commission suggest further a laissez faire approach; 16 
and thirdly, many of Masani's statements about free enterprise 
only add grist to the mill of those who charge Swatantra with 
adherence to nineteenth-century economics. 17 

Few things elicit more derisive comment in contemporary India 
than support for laissez-faire capitalism, and the party's critics 
quickly sought to tar it with this brush by calling it a ' projection' 
of the FFE and a 'rich man's party'. In fact, this view seems to be 
quite widely held, both within and outside the party, and frag- 
mentary evidence suggests that this image has hurt the party badly. 
One indication of this is the list of prospective candidates who asked 



The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

the central office for permission to contest as independents, be- 
cause of the bad party image, with the promise that they would 
join formally at a later date; and these requests came from virtually 
every state unit. 18 

One indication of the image which the party had acquired and the 
manner in which it jarred with the prevailing socialist rhetoric is 
the justification given by some Swatantrites upon their resignation 
from the party. A one-time convenor of the Kerala unit, K. C. 
Jacob, resigned with the statement that a party which 'bravely 
fights shy of all shades of socialist thought is an anachronism 
today \ 19 Similarly, Raja Hutheesing, for a time organizing secre- 
tary of the Bombay (city) unit, gave the following reason for his 
resignation: 'I have gone through the party platform most care- 
fully and I am extremely disappointed. The programme, if ever 
put into practice, will subject the Indian people to economic chaos 
and ruthless exploitation. . .Must India go through the inhuman 
suffering of the industrial revolution in Europe? ' Criticizing what 
he regarded as the party's attachment to laissez faire, he termed it 
' an historical and ridiculous oddity ' and claimed that ' selfish and 
evil forces have worked to mislead the party'. 20 It is really im- 
material whether this was the actual cause for defection in these 
and comparable cases. The important thing is that such views were 
obviously expected to strike a responsive chord. It goes without 
saying that the same terms of abuse were used against Swatantra 
by virtually all other parties, including, in some instances, the 
right-wing opposition. 

From the outset, Swatantra has been of two minds as it con- 
fronted this issue. On the one hand, the leadership was anxious 
to develop a sharply distinct alternative to the Congress, by con- 
trast with the other major parties, all of which echoed in one form 
or another the 'socialist' rhetoric of the ruling party. Moreover, 
Masani was particularly anxious to develop a strong ideological 
challenge to Congress socialism. This suggested that the role of 
the state should be minimized, and to this end Rajaji urged the 
deletion from a draft of the 1962 manifesto many items which in 
his view too closely resembled Congress positions. And he did this 
in some cases not because he actually opposed the draft statement 
but because he wanted to present as sharp an alternative as possible. 21 
On the other hand, the prevalence of socialist rhetoric and the 
recognition by even the most ardent champions of private enter- 


Swatantra Doctrine 

prise that some state activity was indispensable, worked in the 
opposite direction. 

In the fundamental principles themselves a role for the state is 
present, both explicitly and implicitly. For example, the state may 
establish 'heavy industries such as are necessary to supplement 
private enterprise' and may start 'new enterprises which are 
difficult for private enterprise'. While the state is to interfere 
minimally, this principle must be 'consistent with the obligation 
to punish anti-social acts, to protect the weaker elements of society, 
and to create the conditions in which individual initiative will 
thrive and be fruitful '. Specifically, there must be ' adequate safe- 
guards for the protection of labour, and against unreasonable 
profits, prices and dividends where there is no competition and 
where competition does not secure the necessary corrective'. This, 
of course, is a tacit admission that trusteeship, by itself, is insuffi- 
cient; but the divergence in emphasis and outlook (between those 
who stress trusteeship and those who stress legislative correctives) 
has in no significant way been resolved. 22 And once again, some of 
these specific items represent additions to the original party pro- 
gramme tentatively set forth at the Madras meeting. 

If these principles and their implications be broadly conceived, 
the re-entry of the much-condemned statism would be justified. 
In the existing economic situation, there is relatively little com- 
petition of the type that would regulate profits, prices and divi- 
dends; and there is abundant scope for the state in the develop- 
ment of the economic infrastructure, at least. It is no secret, for 
example, that many leaders of Indian private enterprise favoured 
the entry of the government into the iron and steel industry, which 
private industry was not able to develop on the same scale and 
which provided much indispensable material for private enterprise. 
Moreover, if the weaker elements are to be protected and if they 
are to be given equal opportunity, regardless of caste, the state 
must intrude in a vigorous fashion into the social life of the coun- 
try — in a way which would appal Rajaji, and probably most other 
Swatantrites. The abundant village studies demonstrate that a 
'hands-off' policy will not suffice to rescue India's depressed 
millions from their misery, much of which is due to the self- 
conscious animosity of the dominant rural castes. As one source 
put it, however, 'the positive aspects of the obligations of the 
State have thus been given grudging recognition even by the 

195 13-2 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

Swatantra Party and its differences with other political parties on 
this point would be one of degree rather than of principle \ 23 
Swatantra, on its part, has come around to the view that a good 
deal must be done to protect and to strengthen the weak but that 
total control over the entire society and economy was not an 
acceptable means to this end. Once again, however, we are con- 
fronted with a good deal of ambiguity on the matter of where the 
lines will be drawn between legitimate and illegitimate intervention 
for these purposes. 

In the economic sphere, Swatantra has steadfastly denied that it 
stands for laissez faire and that it opposes all planning; and it has 
moved more toward Congress views, suggesting once again the 
importance of taking a 'dialectical' approach to Swatantra's 
position in Indian political life. In response to the charge of laissez 
faire, many Swatantrites have echoed the words of Shroff, already 
quoted: 'It should be clear. . .that Free Enterprise. . .is not advo- 
cated today in terms of the outmoded doctrine of laissez-faire. . . 
The laissez-faire is as dead as dodo. It is a singular triumph of the 
dynamic urge of democratic ideals to have developed a new aware- 
ness of social justice and equality.' 24 In the same vein, party leaders 
deny that they are opposed to planning per se. Instead, they 
object to 'Soviet style' planning— ' total ' and heavy-industry- 
oriented — as now undertaken by the Planning Commission, which 
they hold is a non-constitutional body not properly accountable to 
Parliament. 25 At many junctures, Swatantra leaders insist that 
they would engage in planning, if called upon to form a govern- 
ment. As Ranga put it in his usually flamboyant language, ' . . . we 
believe in plan. But our plan is a Gandhian plan, a plan that has 
for its foundation Dharma, a plan that is based on the initiative of 
our people, a plan that stands for self-employment and security of 
our people, a plan that believes in our people.' 26 Most other leaders 
agree, in less florid language, that the party would have to plan, but 
they insist that it would pay greater heed to smaller-scale projects 
which would yield tangible, short-run results; and the planning 
itself would be done by a Cabinet sub-committee. 27 But here, too, 
there are ambiguities. Obviously, if the word planning is to have 
any meaning, a government cannot respond to every possible 
public pressure; and it is just as obvious that no plan can content 
itself solely with miniscule projects that are cheap and have immedi- 
ate impact. Thus, the Swatantra preference for the 'Gandhian' 


Swatantra Doctrine 

test, i.e. how will this particular project affect the life of the 
common man, does not get us very far. Even such ' display' pro- 
jects as the Bhakra-Nangal Dam, which Swatantra leaders like to 
abuse, are of immense benefit to the common man, in terms of 
irrigation and power, if in no other way. Once again, Swatantra 
differs in degree, not in principle, save with respect to the * total' 
planning which it attributes to the Congress. 

To avoid further the anti-plan image, Swatantra leaders re- 
currently announce that they are trying to develop ' an alternative 
plan' and they have succeeded in convincing some observers that 
the party 'has travelled far since the days when planning was 
anathema to its founding fathers '. 28 Nothing much has yet seen the 
light of day, nor is anything of consequence likely to, but this does 
reflect Swatantra's concern with its public image, as a 'rich man's ', 
laissez faire, capitalist party. The party's emphasis on a rural- 
oriented, 'people's plan' reflects the same concern. 

Students of intellectual history should be intrigued by another 
phase of the Swatantra effort to come to grips with the problem of 
socialist rhetoric in India. For a variety of reasons, 'socialism' is a 
good word in India and, again for a variety of reasons, individual- 
ism and competition, as associated with laissez faire, are bad. The 
former is progressive, the latter retrograde or reactionary. Swa- 
tantra then not only confronts the problem of cutting through a 
variety of parochial issues to establish its anti-statist position; it 
also has an uphill fight to overcome the weight of socialist rhetoric. 
The burden of this effort has been assumed by Masani, and his 
arguments reflect his own cosmopolitan interests, his Marxist 
background, and his desire to relate the Indian experience to 
'world-historical' issues. The main thrust of the Swatantra 
counter-attack against the charge that it is reactionary while 
socialists are progressive is simple. The argument is inverted: in 
world-historical terms, socialism as advanced by Nehru, the PSP, 
the CPI, et al, is retrograde, while the controlled free enterprise of 
Swatantra is progressive, and is, in fact, more representative of the 
' spirit ' of socialism. 

The argument is woven from a number of sometimes inconsistent 
strands. On one level, Swatantra leaders simply quote from Marx, 
Lenin, and other spokesmen for socialism to the effect that socialism 
was to come about only in advanced industrial countries and that 
collectivized agriculture was an impossibility in a primitive 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

economy. 29 The plea is entered to let capitalism perform the 
world-historical task that Marx assigned to it. No matter that 
some contradictory interpretations of the socialist revolution 
could be cited and that many positions have been updated: 
Swatantra takes the old Menshevik line, in effect, and tells the 
socialists and the CPI to go back and read Marx and Lenin 

Were Swatantra to stop here, it would be obliged to admit that 
socialism has a future, if not a present, in India. In attempting to 
cut closer to the heart of the sociahst-communist position, 
Swatantra's dominant theme is that socialism was either never 
relevant or is passe. Party leaders insist that the USA, Canada, and 
West Germany, among other leading nations, achieved material 
J prosperity under controlled capitalism. The Swatantra conclusion 

I is that if this was the path of the richest nations in the world, it is 

|| the best way for India. This still does not account for welfare- 

statism in Great Britain, nor does it demonstrate that socialism has 
)m no future. Arguing the latter point, Masani contends that the 

j|| ' debacle of world socialism is spreading from country to country ', 

and Rajaji terms the idea of class war 'obsolete in Britain. . . 
premature [sic!] and most dangerous in India'. 30 
mi Masani takes pains to enumerate the specifics of the ' debacle '. 

He cites Tory victories and the ideological retreat of the Labour 
Party in Great Britain; the split in the Japanese socialist movement, 
with a social democratic offshoot repudiating more doctrinaire 
Marxism; defeats of or ideological retreats by Socialist parties in 
Austria (1958), the Netherlands (1959)3 Sweden (i960), and 
Ceylon (i960). 31 Very heavily stressed by Masani is the fact that the 
German Social Democrats, long regarded as the most dedicated 
standard-bearers of orthodox Marxism, have explicitly rejected 
doctrinaire socialism, in favour of a more moderate, ' pragmatic ' 
approach. Swatantra leaders delight in juxtaposing excerpts from 
their manifesto and similarly worded counterparts in the German 
social- democratic programme, to show the virtual identity with 
the erstwhile socialist forces of the west. 32 Thus, Masani has 
argued that 'the whole world, including the peoples in the Iron 
Curtain countries, is moving away from the shibboleths of 
collectivism. The danger of India's being committed to outmoded 
dogmas which the rest of the world is discarding must be 
combatted.' 33 


Swatantra Doctrine 

Accepting the 'socialism' of the Tories in Great Britain, of the 
German Social Democrats, and so on, Swatantra leaders alternately 
called Nehru, a 'nineteenth-century socialist' as opposed to 
Swatantra's 'twentieth-century socialists', or else a 'reactionary 
state capitalist' and no real socialist at all! 34 While this set of 
arguments can hardly be called a logical tour de force, it has per- 
mitted Swatantra leaders to argue that the socialists are outdated, 
not Swatantra. This illustrates an important dimension of intel- 
lectual history, viz. the compulsion to respond to the strong and 
proximate challenge of Marx and socialism and the need to accept, 
to some extent, the enemy's political vocabulary. This was noted 
in passing in connection with the Jan Sangh and the Hindu 
Mahasabha; and Swatantra is only joining the throng (at which it 
shakes a censuring finger most of the time) albeit in a different 
way than the other parties. 35 

If Swatantra has been obliged to make concessions to the rhetoric 
of socialism in the field of economic development, it has thus far 
declined to dwell in detail on the implications of bringing about 
equality for all. We see that Swatantra has emphasized the protec- 
tion of the weak rather than the strengthening of the weak. Both 
are important, but the latter would draw Swatantra more fully into 
social intervention, and here the party remains painfully silent. 
Reliance on trusteeship does more to protect the strong than to 
protect or to strengthen the weak, and reliance on individual 
initiative is manifestly insufficient to emancipate the Indian masses 
from their century-old burdens and afflictions, particularly where 
the harijans, landless labourers, and other particularly depressed 
groups are concerned. Rajaji certainly does not display any 
righteous indignation over the glaring inequalities, and those who 
are sensitive to this situation have not spoken out in positive terms 
about ways of helping the weak. Masani, certainly no friend of the 
caste system or of the ethos which underlies it, has also spoken 
more of the mass ofsudras which he feels that statism is creating, 
rather than the sudras and untouchables already extant, and the 
causes responsible for their unhappy state. 

This, too, has not escaped attention, in part because of sharp 
criticism from outside as well as inside the party. In considering 
various drafts of the 1962 election manifesto, Latchanna, the 
highly regarded untouchable leader in Andhra, and Basant Singh 
of the Punjab, among other Swatantra state leaders, criticized the 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

inadequate provisions concerning the untouchables and the de- 
pressed classes generally. 36 So, too, after the 1962 elections, Masani 
insisted that attention to this problem 'is a moral and political 
imperative'. 37 Thus far, however, the concern has not borne any 
fruit, in terms of a substantial critique of the old order; there has 
been no detailed statement concerning mass welfare; and the 
difficulties generated by the emphasis on trusteeship have not been 
resolved. Admittedly, the problem is not an easy one to solve, but 
Swatantra cannot escape some blame for neglecting it, as Masani, 
Latchanna and Basant Singh, at least are willing to admit. 

There is one obvious reason for Swatantra' s reticence: its virtual 

obsession with the task ' of opposing statism, which is the greatest 

enemy of freedom'. 38 In the same vein, Rajaji declared in 1950 

(speaking to the CPI members of the Madras assembly), ' I am 

your enemy Number One. . .May I say you are my enemy Number 

One? That is my policy from A to Z.' 39 Given this prevailing 

attitude, which is reflected in the widespread but by no means 

I universal insistence among Swatantra leaders that the CPI should 

I be banned, 40 it is not particularly surprising that the party does not 

speak out against the many suffocating influences of the old order 

|i or against the obstacles and dangers to freedom which lie on the 

mi right. It is partly for this reason that the critique of traditionalism 

i, which is implicit in the party's fundamental principles is muted to 

the point of inaudibility. 41 

In the case of the Congress movement itself, there was a sub- 
ordination of social issues in the interests of the largely negative 
political goal of ousting the British; and there were a variety of 
points of view within the Congress concerning the post-British 
b ii course of policy. Many felt that the attainment of independence 

was virtually the end of the struggle and that little remained to be 
I done thereafter. Obviously men like Nehru had vastly different 

1" 1 conceptions of future agendas. Swatantra in many ways presents a 

parallel case. Its primary goal, its very raison d'etre, is to oppose 
statism, and, as in the Congress, there are divergent points of view 
of future policy. 

From the earlier analyses it is easy to see that for many Swatan- 
trites, too, the battle would be over if only statism could be 
defeated. For many, the more conservative elements in the party, 
the effort ends there. For others, however, there is a bigger agenda 
of tasks that have to be undertaken. It is uncontestable, however, 



Swatantra Doctrine 

that the people tending toward the former position outnumber 
those who tend toward the latter. The social composition and 
attitudes of much of the leadership reinforces the conclusion that 
there is a marked tendency to fight the left only, leaving the weight 
of tradition and the threat of a right authoritarianism outside the 
pale of relevant concerns. Moreover, if the pressure from the left 
remains, as it almost surely will in one form or another, it is 
unlikely that Swatantra will ever articulate a serious challenge to 
the old order. One may take some solace from the fact that, in such 
a dialectical situation, the interplay of forces may produce a not 
unhappy result; but this does not make Swatantra a 'progressive, 
liberal party'. Swatantra is, in short, in a very difficult historical 
position, and much of one's assessment of the party will depend on 
how one reads history, Indian and otherwise. Yet as long as Swa- 
tantra attacks only the left and as long as its own more progressive 
elements remain subdued, it will represent at best a drastically 
truncated form of liberalism. It is not necessary to go as far as 
Swatantra's adamant critics — who argue that no one in the party 
has any progressive ideas — for there to be very legitimate appre- 
hension on this point. 42 


Just as Swatantra has been obliged to respond to the prevailing 
socialist rhetoric, so also has it been obliged to deal with many 
subjects which lie beyond the bounds of the fundamental prin- 
ciples. The party's leaders do this with some reluctance, of course, 
because their aim is to develop Indian political consciousness along 
new, i.e. statist-anti-statist, lines, and they do not want to divert 
attention from this to issues which it regards as of lesser importance. 
Thus, Rajaji, in a statement deploring the tendency for prolifera- 
tion of political parties in India, has said: 

For parliamentary democracy to work satisfactorily, we need two clearly 
distinguishable political parties, based on two clearly understandable 
systems of national economy ... Questions which affect particular 
groups adversely or favourably should not be party issues, but should be 
treated as ethical issues to be dealt with irrespective of party cleavages. 
Party cleavages should only be on issues affecting the national economy, 
and so it is necessary to polarize all-India politics on the single question, 
1 Do you want the State to dominate over the economy and reduce the 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

citizen to a regulation-ridden slave-worker, or do you stand for maximum 
free economy with minimum State-controls in the interest of the 
general welfare . . . ? ' 43 

Just as social issues were glossed over in the interest of opposing 
statism, so all other issues which are not directly related to 
questions of political economy must also be subordinated. 

The fundamental principles offer some hope, however, that the 
party will be able to address itself ' unofficially ' to a host of these 
'lesser' issues and thus to accommodate India's diversity and local 
interests within its framework. The last of the twenty-one points 
allows party members to adopt any positions they may choose 'on 
all questions not falling within the scope of the Principles stated 
above', which Rajaji had explained in the following way: 'This 
party of freedom is further making a novel experiment in restrict- 
ing disciplinary control over party members to essential issues, 
giving freedom in all other matters to vote according to individual 
opinion. This is not mere strategy to "net in" discordant miscel- 
laneous elements as first might appear.' 44 Without denying that a 
principled commitment to democratic procedures plays a part in 
this formulation, it is none the less clear that many 'discordant 
miscellaneous elements' can be brought into the party, as long as 
they ostensibly adhere to the basic, anti-statist fundamental 
principles. Thus, pro-Hindi Swatantrites in the north can co-exist 
with pro-English Swatantrites in the south; supporters of linguistic 
states can co-exist with opponents thereof; social reformers can 
co-exist with steadfast conservatives; pacifists can co-exist with 
sabre-rattlers; local groups can stress strictly local issues, and so 
on — as i on g as they are able to subordinate their passions on these 
issues in order to consolidate the anti-statist front. 

Among the many unofficial matters which have received atten- 
tion, the question of national language is particularly revealing, 
because virtually all Swatantra notables argue that English should 
be retained until such time as all Indians agree voluntarily to use 
Hindi as the official or 'link' language. 45 They have openly pro- 
claimed that English was one of the two great sources of 'national 
consciousness', the other being the independence struggle itself; 
and they bemoan the decline in the 'leadership of the English- 
educated minority' and regret that 'the psychological and social 
unity of educated men and women. . .is being undermined' by 
ill-considered decisions in linguistic matters. 46 This view has not 


Swatantra Doctrine 

found favour with many Swatantrites, especially those from UP and 
Bihar, and Swatantra ranks reveal considerable disarray and friction 
during consideration of linguistic matters. 47 This is one view which 
infuriates the Jan Sangh and other pro-Hindi militants, whose 
spokesmen repeatedly deplore the fact that Indians are still created 
in Macaulay's image. 48 The late President of the Jan Sangh, 
Raghuvira, referred to a bill to extend the period in which English 
could be used ' anti-democratic, anti-Gandhian, and anti-national 
. . . a continuation of colonialism'. He added that 'all opportunities 
in the high sectors of life are reserved for those who have mastered 
English 5 and he referred to the English-knowing people as a 
' giant monopoly' in India. Suggestive of the passions aroused here 
is the fact that on more than one occasion in the Hindi areas Rajaji 
has been obliged to abandon an address when the crowd heckled 
him for failing to speak in Hindi, or at least another indigenous 
tongue. 49 The pro-English stand also offends many other groups 
which are pressing for exclusive use of indigenous tongues for all 
government business and as the medium of instruction in all 
schools, at all levels. Also this stand reflects the more moderate, 
upper-class temperament which is widespread in the national 
elite of the party. 50 

In the linguistically related Punjabi suba agitation and the 
recently terminated DMK demand for an independent Dravidian 
state, i.e. for secession, Swatantra ran afoul of one of the most 
vexing issues of post-independence Indian politics. Outright en- 
dorsement of such agitations would infuriate the militant national- 
ists once more; but it would also offend more moderate national- 
ists, as, for example, the party's language position does not. Out- 
right condemnation of these agitations would, however, deprive 
Swatantra of some possible local support in its battle against the 
Congress. Swatantra, not very successfully, has tried to have it 
both ways : it frequently defends these movements as legitimate 
expressions of democratic rights (i.e. to organize and to plead one's 
case), but it insists that it is not thereby endorsing the ends of these 
agitations. The situation was particularly vexing in the case of the 
DMK, because of the demand for secession; and throughout, 
Rajaji and others willing to seek a common front with the DMK 
had to insist that this party did not seriously intend to secede — a 
view which gained some credence during and after the Chinese 
invasion of 1962. 51 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

As we have already seen, Rajaji and Munshi differ very sharply 
on such problems, about which more will be said in the discussion 
of electoral alliances. For the time, a brief review of some of 
Rajaji's pronouncements will suggest the delicacy of this issue. 

Rajaji has throughout steadfastly insisted that the party as such has 
no official position on any but fundamental principles. None the 
less, he said that he personally did not consider the demand for a 
Punjabi suba improper, given the prevailing pattern of linguistic 
states, to which he also said he was personally opposed! 52 Further, 
Rajaji pointed to the Swatantra report on the government's 
handling of the agitation, in which the action against the Akalis was 
termed 'excessive and indiscriminate', and to a later charge that 
this action constituted ' a ridiculous exercise of arbitrary power, a 
provocative move on the part of the Punjab Government, with 
some sinister design, and a flagrant defiance of the Constitution 
with no precedent even in the worst period of British terrorism'. 53 
The latter referred to the detention of Akali leaders under the 
preventive detention act, which Rajaji, who was instrumental in its 
passage (to curb the Communists), said justified the worst fears of 
its opponents. 54 So, too, when Tara Singh undertook a fast unto 
death on behalf of the Punjabi suba demand, Rajaji asked him to 
keep a limited fast and also asked the government to respond to it 
in the same generous way as the British responded to Gandhi's 
Poona fast (1932) on behalf of the untouchables. Finally, at the end 
of the fast, Rajaji said: 'I hope the distress gone through will bear 
some fruit and in adequate measure. ' 55 

The Swatantra leaders, Munshi excepted, responded in much 
the same way to the demands of the DMK. There is, on the one 
hand, great stress on government repression in dealing with 
demonstrations; and, for example, in Ranga's by-election cam- 
paign in Chittoor (Andhra, August 1962), DMK men supported 
him and frequently displayed bruises, cuts, etc., which were 
attributed to police brutality during Madras demonstrations. On 
the other hand, with respect to the demand for secession, the 
matter has been dealt with by denying that the DMK is serious 
about this. Thus, Rajaji called the hope for a separate Dravidistan 
'chimerical' and he deplored efforts 'to besmirch the name of the 
DMK'. 56 Throughout, the leaders insisted that there was no official 
position on either issue and that by defending the right to protest 
they were not thereby defending the professed goals of the protest. 



Swatantra Doctrine 

This sort of equivocal or ambivalent approach is designed to 
provide some basis for anti-Congress activity in concert with the 
Akali Dal and the DMK, 57 and may appear attractive to those for 
whom the linguistic or Secessionist' issue does not bulk large, but 
it cannot help but offend those for whom these are the issues. Thus, 
while Rajaji has emphasized that the party is not 'governed by its 
founder-leader's personal views on the official language issue and 
on the Punjabi suba claim' 58 this has not satisfied much of Indian 
critical opinion, nor has it pleased all Swatantrites. The Times of 
India complained of Rajaji's 'sophistry' in linguistic matters, 59 and 
Munshi, who is vehemently opposed to both the Akali Dal and the 
DMK, has made known his distress over Swatantra approaches to 
these groups. 60 On the other hand, many Akalis in the Punjab felt 
that Swatantra did not permit sufficient scope for advancing the 
Punjabi suba claim and many felt that the party could have gone 
further in supporting the Akali efforts. 61 Some Sikh Swatantrites 
either resigned from party office or from the party completely, to 
have greater freedom to speak out on Punjabi suba; while one 
disgruntled Swatantrite in the Punjab has stated: 'We do not 
agree with Mr Rajagopalachari's view on Punjabi suba. His recent 
utterances have shaken our confidence in the principles of the 
organization. . .They are trying to appease the Akalis and the 
Hindus simultaneously on the eve of the general election.' 62 Such 
are the difficulties involved in trying to establish anti-statism as the 
pivotal consideration in politics, in areas where people's pre- 
occupations lie elsewhere, and such are some of the problems in- 
volved in trying to build an all-India opposition out of the diverse 
interests of the sub-continent. 

The fundamental principles of the Swatantra Party are also 
silent on foreign policy, and here, too, individual members are 
privileged to adopt whatever personal positions they may choose. 63 
Both historically and in recent years, there have been sharp differ- 
ences in the leaders' approaches to international events. Rajaji, for 
example, has a very strong element of pacifism in his outlook, 
made his first trip out of India (at the age of 83) to plead with the 
nuclear powers to cease nuclear testing, and has been inclined to be 
conciliatory towards communists who seem to believe in peaceful 
co-existence (just as he was happy when the CPI ostensibly 
reconciled itself to parliamentarism). Munshi, by contrast, shares 
many Jan Sangh views, while Masani, in particular, is a vehement 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

anti-communist ideologian, wholeheartedly pro-western in foreign 
affairs, and determined to sustain a remorseless battle to turn back 
communists. Not surprisingly, one of Masani's principal efforts 
was to persuade Rajaji to be less 'soft on communists', and his 
efforts, coupled with the Chinese invasion, have apparently 

Such differences are, however, less significant than the high 
degree of agreement which has prevailed, especially with respect to 
the challenge of Communist China and the means of combating it. 
Long before the Chinese invasion in late 1962, Swatantra had 
insisted that at least towards Communist China the principles of 
non-alinement, panch sheel, and others pillars of Indian foreign 
policy would have to be replaced. While acknowledging, perhaps 
for reasons of expediency, that under ' normal ' conditions these 
might be appropriate principles, Swatantra leaders insisted that with 
the ' rape of Tibet ' and Chinese border incursions (including the 
construction of the Aksai Chin road, which connects Sinkiang 
with Tibet, across Indian territory) the old notions had been 
rendered meaningless, if not suicidal. Demanding a more deter- 
mined posture, Swatantra opposed all gestures of ' appeasement ' 64 
and condemned the ' Krishna Menon pattern of politics ', which 
was considered to be pro-communist 'neutralism'. 65 Supporting 
Masani's very tough anti-communist stance, Swatantra has 
endorsed recommendations that India (1) sever diplomatic rela- 
tions with Communist China; (2) terminate all trade between the 
two countries; (3) refuse to sponsor her admission to the UN; 
(4) recognize a Tibetan refugee government; and (5) attempt to 
negotiate joint defence agreements against China with other Asian 
nations, including Pakistan, and more recently with Japan. Both 
before and, especially, after the Chinese invasion, the party was 
very emphatic that India seek a detente with Pakistan, putting 
Kashmir in the 'freezer', and, if necessary, that India should 
aline more closely with the non-communist West. Few have 
supported Masani's private view that Chiang Kai-Shek might be 
encouraged to attack mainland China, even at the risk of broaden- 
ing the scope of military activities to involve the great powers in a 
potential nuclear war. 66 

This ' tough ' foreign policy line against China provides a basis for 
co-operation among many parties, including not only the rightists, 
but also the PSP and Socialists. However, Swatantra's rather 


Swatantra Doctrine 

generous approach to Pakistan and its Kashmir stand have 
certainly alienated many of the more militant Hindus. Very im- 
portantly, however, Swatantra alone of the major Indian parties 
censured the government for the seizure of Goa, claiming that it 
was a diversionary action designed to deflect attention from the 
failings of the ruling party and to enhance the prestige of the then 
Defence Minister, Krishna Menon. 67 Thus, on a matter which 
elicited the enthusiastic support of both the extreme left and the 
extreme right in Indian politics, Swatantra chose to stand apart. 68 

Swatantra' s formulations concerning the Punjabi suba and DMK 
agitations undoubtedly have a * Machiavellian' dimension, 69 but 
both here and elsewhere the party's views are more principled and 
ideologically based than many critics admit. Retention of English 
has some support, especially in non-Hindi areas, but only in a 
small minority of the population; and especially when Swatantra 
leaders emphasize English as the medium of instruction in colleges 
and universities (as many leaders do), they antagonize many ardent 
supporters of regional languages, as well as the proponents of 
Hindi. The same is true when the issue of 'linguistic states ' versus 
'zonal divisions' arises. 70 Its insistence that India take the lead in 
effecting a detente or settlement with Pakistan is similarly not 
calculated for mass appeal, for in so far as strong feelings in the 
country are concerned, these tend to be decidedly hostile towards 
Pakistan. 71 The Goa issue did not bulk very large, but Swatantra 
stood virtually alone in its adverse reaction. Finally, the ambivalent 
approach to the Akalis and the DMK has tended to isolate the 
party from the prevailing passions in these areas. 

That Swatantra has ultimately addressed itself to issues not 
directly related to statism is by no means surprising; but the party's 
insistence that all such views are unofficial and the fact that many 
of these views are devoid of mass appeal reflect certain biases and 
preoccupations of the leadership. To be sure, the party has found 
some resonance among the mass of the voters through its opposi- 
tion to enhanced taxation and through other anti-statist positions, 
and it has used other appeals to good effect. But its official doctrine 
and many unofficial views still seem relatively remote from popular 
interests and passions. In fact, the liberal tone of the fundamental 
principles; the stress on such matters as constitutional propriety, 
administrative efficiency, and judicial review; the penchant for 
adopting rather unpopular positions, all suggest the moderate, 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

middle- and upper-class sentiments of much of the party's 
leadership and the debt which Swatantra owes to the early 
'Moderate' leaders of the Congress. 72 

This raises, however remotely, the question of the ways in which 
Swatantra, like the Moderates (and their descendants, the 
Liberals), might be out of the mainstream of Indian political life; 73 
and this is a question to which some Swatantra leaders have also 
addressed themselves. For example, many Swatantra leaders, 
particularly in the north, have argued that the party is at a dis- 
advantage vis-d-vis the Jan Sangh, because of the latter's more 
militant posture and because of what is regarded as the Sangh's 
intrinsically more appealing ideology. 74 Many Swatantrites echo 
the words of Lobo Prabhu who argued that 

there is a little despondency in some quarters that while the Swatantra 
Party has convinced those who can think, it has still to reach the masses, 
less disposed to question their conditions. This idea has been vigorously 
spread by the Congress in order to emphasize the weakness of the Swa- 
tantra Party. But surely, if a Party's principles appeal to the educated 
and thinking classes, it is a demonstration of the party being in the 
right. 75 

The same feeling of intellectual superiority (not to say arrogance) 
was touched upon earlier in discussing the dislike for universal 
suffrage and intrudes in a different fashion in Rajaji's reference to 
the 'incredible degree of gullibility in the electorate'. 76 

This sort of sentiment calls into question once again the 
commitment of certain leaders to democracy based on universal 
suffrage, which would, for example, be important to gauge if a 
right-wing authoritarian regime became a possibility in India. It 
also evokes memories of the early Congress Moderates and their 
lineal descendants, the Liberals, who came to feel isolated from 
(emerging) mass politics. 

Parallels between the Liberals and Swatantra are worth pursu- 
ing, not only for reasons of historical curiosity, but also to sharpen 
our understanding of Swatantra. Lobo Prabhu's statement pro- 
vides such a parallel, because it is little more than a rephrasing of a 
statement by Sir Sivaswamy Aiyar, a prominent Moderate : 

Our party, many of us feel, is in the minority in the country . . . [but] 
Sobriety and judgement are bound in the long run to rule the world. It 
may be that we feel discouraged at times by the fact that we are not able 



Swatantra Doctrine 

to muster in thousands as the members of the other party [the Congress 
' Extremists '] can claim, but let not that depress us in the least ... We are 
bound to succeed. 77 

In the same spirit, Srinivasa Sastri declared that 

I may be a heretic, but I do maintain that that it is no disgrace to a party 
not to win success at elections . . . We still are elders knowing life some- 
what deeper than other people. . .such men have a value and I am 
confident that we should continue to perform our most necessary, 
though often neglected task; 

and Venkataram Sastri declared that 

we know as liberals we are a handful in a vast country — we who have 
courage and are not ashamed to own ourselves to be liberals. 78 

Many Swatantrites share some of these basic perspectives, viz. 
that they are older, wiser, and more responsible people than those 
who dominate the political scene, and that it is no disgrace that 
Swatantra has received such a small percentage of the popular vote. 
The explicit aversion, in many quarters, to universal suffrage 
indicates further that some leading Swatantrites doubt that the 
party can get its message across in a context of mass politics. They 
also seem to feel that they must continue to fight their battle, even 
against heavy odds. 

One Swatantra leader argued that many of the retired administra- 
tors and professionals, in particular, would withdraw from Swatantra 
if it became 'just another political party', indulging in communal 
appeals and the like to maximize its strength. 79 Some doubtless 
would do so, and in this respect they would also parallel the earlier 
Moderate-Liberal position. Most, however, are determined not to 
suffer the same fate which befell these early Congress leaders, 
i.e. almost total eclipse, and do not seem prepared to go down with 
colours flying. 

This determination has led many Swatantrites to turn their 
backs on a broader liberalism, in the interests of anti-statism and 
the development of the broadest possible anti-Congress front. One 
form that this 'compromise' has taken is the willingness to derive 
aid and comfort from people both inside and outside the party 
who are anything but liberal and for whom the liberal aspects of 
the fundamental principles are utterly meaningless, save in the 
very truncated, anti-statist sense. The Swatantra dilemma here was 

I 4 209 ESP 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

aptly portrayed by one MP from the party, when he was asked 
about the extent to which the liberal aspects of party doctrine 
animated those who supported the party. His response was terse: 
' Swatantra is like a parasite plant. It attaches itself to anything 
which can give it nourishment, but has no roots of its own.' 80 

Another aspect of the party's departure from a broadly liberal 
stand is the nature of its electoral appeals in many areas. Swatantra 
candidates almost universally emphasized certain of the funda- 
mental principles, such as opposition to heavy taxes, to deficit 
financing, and to land ceilings. Save on a very limited scale, how- 
ever, the emphasis was on the anti-statist issues, not on a set of 
broadly liberal ideas. 

Furthermore, in many areas, even basic anti- statist positions 
were subordinated to other appeals. Party files contain numerous, 
detailed studies of the religious and caste composition of certain 
areas, with recommendations as to how communal factors may 
be exploited in the selection of candidates, in electoral appeals, 
and the like. 81 In some districts in Gujarat, religious appeals were 
made and old Rajput war cries were so widely prevalent that even 
party leaders admitted that nothing could save certain candidates 
whose elections had been challenged on the grounds of use of such 
appeals. 82 By almost universal assent of those immediately involved, 
a declaration against prohibition was one of the most widely heard 
from Swatantra platforms in Gujarat; and it was apparently one of 
the more effective. 83 In the Punjab, Swatantra sought to capitalize 
on the land question and on opposition to the Hindu Succession 
Act (particularly the provision which gave inheritance rights to 
women), and leaders in that state were frank to admit that the latter 
was very important in their campaign effort. 84 In Madras, Ganesan, 
the very devout state President, cited chapter and verse from the 
Vedas to show the identity of Swatantra doctrine and classic 
doctrines; and he threatened to organize a satyagraha in protest 
against the inclusion of mutt and temple lands under the Madras 
land ceiling legislation. 85 This is, however, one area where the 
public ideology was invoked, for some Swatantra leaders, as well 
as the press, deplored the fact that Ganesan' s efforts were not 
directed against land ceilings per se but against this specific pro- 
vision, which had obviously religious overtones. More recently, 
however, the Gujarat state convention of the party had as its key- 
note speaker a Hindu holy man who was about to embark on a fast 


Swatantra Doctrine 

over the question of cow-slaughter; and the state party passed a 
resolution favouring a ban on cow-slaughter at the same convention. 
Such concessions to religious sentiment, as well as the necessity to 
cultivate caste loyalties and to respond to parochial concerns (such 
as boundary issues in Bihar and Orissa), indicate the difficulties 
confronting Swatantra in this realm. 

Many of these issues can, of course, be linked in some fashion to 
the general issue of statism, but usually this was not done. Even 
more rarely was an effort made to link these issues to any broadly 
liberal stance. This is not surprising but it does indicate that a 
broadly liberal approach was not deemed relevant in most areas. 
At best, Swatantra emphasized anti-statism, which, to repeat, is 
not synonymous with liberalism. 

The future of Swatantra as a progressive party depends to a 
great extent on its ability to reach supporters on the basis of a more 
rounded liberalism, not the drastically circumscribed liberalism- 
as-anti-statism. This, in turn, depends on other factors, including 
the balance of power within the Swatantra elites, the existence 
and/or development of potentially liberal classes, the nature of the 
challenge from the left, among others. Thus far, however, in the 
contest between the proponents of ideological purity and those 
who adopt a victory-at-any-cost posture, the centre of gravity lies 
with the latter. Swatantra's formal doctrinal pronouncements, 
which are generally liberal in temper and which have exerted some 
disciplinary pressure, must be read with these other considerations 
in mind. 86 



I »,# »> 

I II in 




Swatantra leaders have always felt that multi-cornered contests had 
contributed substantially to Congress victories over the dis- 
organized opposition in 195 1-2 and 1957. With this in mind, the 
party supplemented its efforts to build itself up through mergers 
and grass roots organization with a determined campaign to make 
electoral adjustments with non-merging parties. Some of the 
parties whom Swatantra approached were not considered likely 
prospects for merger under any circumstances, while in other 
cases, Swatantra hoped for merger, but had to settle for second 

Broadly speaking, the governing principle of Swatantra's efforts 
was 'my enemy's enemy is my friend' — at least temporarily. This 
opened up a very wide field, the only salient exception being that 
no negotiations were to be undertaken with the CPI. 1 Neither 
Swatantra nor the CPI saw much advantage in such moves, and the 
CPI remained well outside the range of Swatantra's actual and 
potential allies. None the less, both direct and indirect adjust- 
ments with the CPI were in some cases made; and Rajaji's remark 
that he would ally with the devil himself if this would help defeat 
the Congress seemed to sanction such adjustments. 2 In particular, 
some Swatantra candidates in Andhra came to direct, explicit 
understandings with local CPI units; and, elsewhere, Swatantra 
often negotiated understandings with parties which in turn had 
made adjustments with the CPI, thus bringing Swatantra into some 
indirect relations with the CPI. 3 

In confronting the non-Communist opposition, Masani ex- 
pressed concern over indiscriminate alliances. He preferred that 
Swatantra contest only ' on its own platform and in furtherance of 
its own policies without entering into any alliance with other 
parties'. Yet he was 'painfully aware' that 'a policy of electoral 
understandings and adjustments ' was indispensable, if the Con- 
gress majority were to be weakened. 4 The policy ultimately 
favoured, reflecting Masani's distinction between an 'alliance' 


Electoral Adjustments 

and an ' understanding ', was that of 'reciprocal courtesy', where 
Swatantra and other 'democratic' opposition parties would defer 
to one another according to local strength, without necessarily 
speaking on behalf of or supporting financially each other's candi- 
dates. 5 Swatantra leaders made it clear that even if other opposition 
parties declined to co-operate widely in such a venture, it was still 
likely that Swatantra would act unilaterally, and stand aside in 
favour of another party, if this would weaken the Congress/ 
Communist position. Moreover, party leaders also stated that they 
would by no means feel compelled to contest against the CPI in all 
areas, especially where the latter was strong, because this would 
involve a wasting of resources. Finally, Swatantra leaders also 
insisted that their party would not feel bound by any understand- 
ings reached by their 'allies' with the CPI. If, for example, the 
DMK and CPI came to an understanding, and if Swatantra and 
the DMK also came to an understanding, Swatantra reserved the 
right to set up candidates in those districts in which the DMK had 
deferred to the CPI. Such a declaration was felt to be necessary, 
because the DMK and the Akali Dal in particular were negotiating 
with the CPI and with Swatantra, and Swatantra did not want to 
find itself in the potentially embarrassing position of being in- 
directly alined with the Communists. In fact, the latter principle 
proved to be rather difficult to apply in some instances, as we shall 
see in due course. 6 

Many negotiations were undertaken at the very highest level — 
e.g. between Rajaji, Ranga, Masani, el aL, with their counterparts 
in the various opposition groups with which Swatantra considered 
working out electoral adjustments. In some cases (e.g. Rajasthan), 
state leaders declined to enter into discussions until they were 
provided with some guidelines by the national leadership, on the 
basis of such negotiations. 7 For the most part, however, the relevant 
discussions ultimately took place at the state or district level 
(although in some of these cases, Swatantra national leaders still 
spoke for the party), on the sound assumption that local conditions 
would prove to be the decisive factor. Most important were the 
talks with the Jan Sangh, both nationally and in Rajasthan, the 
Punjab, UP, Madhya Pradesh, and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere; 
with the RRP nationally and in Rajasthan, UP, and Madhya 
Pradesh; with the Akali Dal in the Punjab; and with the DMK in 
Madras. 8 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

As in the case of Swatantra's efforts to build its own strength and 
to induce other parties to merge, the negotiation of understandings 
involved serious problems. Rajaji argued that 'over and above the 
desire of every party to maintain its own importance, there is con- 
siderable difficulty in appraising the strength of the parties in 
order to reach electoral adjustments. It is these difficulties that 
have stood in the way of coming to agreed adjustments so far. ' 9 In 
this he was quite correct, on both counts. Even obviously weak and 
declining parties seemed reluctant to compromise their own inde- 
pendent standing, while the more vital ones were reluctant to 
concede much to a new, untested party. In some cases, we can see 
with the advantage of hindsight that there was a substantial mis- 
reading of political strength. Swatantra proved much stronger than 
imagined in some areas, while elsewhere, other opposition groups 
proved surprisingly strong. For example, shortly before the elec- 
tions of 1962, leading newspapers seriously underestimated DMK 
and Jan Sangh possibilities in Madras and UP, respectively, and 
exaggerated Swatantra strength. 10 Quite apart from other factors 
which worked against co-operation among opposition parties, this 
difficulty in appraising strength was a serious obstacle; and here, 
as in the effort to induce mergers, Swatantra's limited success must 
be weighed against the difficulties encountered. But Rajaji was 
certainly over-optimistic when he stated that ' I expect in the course 
of time, necessary accommodations will be made and triangular 
contests avoided'. 11 

In some important respects, Swatantra's problems with the 
Jan Sangh and the DMK were similar. Both were older parties 
and both had fairly strong, dedicated cadres, at least in some areas. 
Both prided themselves on their dynamism and their militancy, 
which generally took a markedly 'populist' form and which gave 
them a 'mass' party image. Both tended to regard Swatantra as a 
presumptuous interloper which should approach them somewhat 
as supplicants and both tended to portray Swatantra as a tired, 
moderate, rich man's party. The buoyant confidence of both, 
coupled with modest electoral successes in 1952 and 1957, helped 
to keep Swatantra at arm's length, at least until it had proved itself 
a significant political force. Both felt that for an untried party 
Swatantra was certainly asking too much, but it was by no means 
clear that they would respond any better if Swatantra were success- 
ful. Given their general 'style' of political action, both the Jan 


Electoral Adjustments 

Sangh and the DMK were not likely to be particularly chastened 
by Swatantra victories. By and large, these considerations were less 
important in dealing with the Akali Dal, the RRP and the 
Mahasabha. 12 

On the other hand, these opposition parties realized that Swa- 
tantra did have some distinguished national and state leaders, 
that it did have the ear of some monied interests, that it shared 
a desire to oust the Congress, and that full-scale internecine war- 
fare among opposition parties was not the way to achieve this goal. 13 
Thus, happily or not, elaborate negotiations were undertaken by 
the opposition parties; but the Jan Sangh and DMK approached 
them with the proverbial chip on their shoulders. 


Because Rajaji came from Madras, a determined effort was made 
by Swatantra to ensure a reasonably good showing in that state. 
After Swatantra absorbed the INDC, the DMK was the principal 
opposition group in Madras, and Swatantra had to decide how to 
come to grips with it. There were, however, some very knotty 
problems, in addition to those just mentioned. The DMK was an 
offshoot of the virulently anti-Brahmin Dravida Kazagham, and it 
was not clear to what extent Swatantra's Brahmins could reconcile 
themselves to working out adjustments with a party with this back- 
ground. 14 In addition, the DMK, as we have seen, openly preached 
secession, and as part of its electoral plans it favoured adjustments 
with the CPI. Both within Swatantra itself and among certain seg- 
ments of the electorate, these issues could not easily be dodged. 

On the communal question, Rajaji himself insisted that a dis- 
tinction had to be made between the DK and the DMK, even 
though in the mid-1950s he had accused both of ' openly preaching 
a creed of hatred based on ethnological conjectures and unrecorded 
and unproved historical conflicts . . . ', at which time he also added 
the comment: 'Is it not remarkable that this hatred-mongering is 
going on, with little disapproval or discouragement from those in 
authority? ' 15 In more recent remarks, the DK was still said to be 
vehemently anti-Brahmin and communal, according to Rajaji; but 
by contrast the DMK had abandoned its communal bias and was a 
party with which Brahmins need not feel uncomfortable. One 
source argued that it was on Rajaji's advice that Anandorai, the 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

DMK leader, had broken away from Naicker and the DK, and the 
same source speculated that Rajaji stood a good chance of per- 
suading the DMK to follow the Ganatantra Parishad into Swa- 
tantra. 16 Others have given Rajaji somewhat less credit in these 
matters but have argued that he did try to persuade Annadorai to 
temper the communal and secessionist appeals, in the interest of 
maximizing anti-Congress support behind the DMK. Certainly, 
some of Rajaji's colleagues in the Madras unit of Swatantra (as well 
as some in Andhra and Mysore) were either former Justiceites or 
non-Brahmin Congressmen who had been in the forefront of 
efforts to oust Rajaji as Chief Minister of the state, which suggests 
that some old animosities have been overcome under the pressure 
of new conditions and needs. This, however, would seem in- 
sufficient evidence to think that a Swatantra-DMK merger was 
likely, because the 'communal' question seems less relevant here 
than broader social and economic considerations. 

On the DMK plea for ' Dravidistan ', Rajaji simply insisted, as 
we have seen, that it should not be taken seriously and that DMK 
leaders had a tiger by the tail without knowing how to let it go. 
The demand was at worst an exaggerated reaction against north 
Indian 'imperialism 5 , and at best a legitimate, if also exaggerated 
reaction against ' statism \ Thus, Rajaji tried once again to make the 
DMK a respectable party, in this instance in the eyes of the nation- 
alists (both militant and moderate) who looked upon the ' Dravidi- 
stan' demand as a menace to the integrity of India. 17 

Swatantra tried to dispose summarily of the CPI-DMK issue 
by restating its principles concerning understandings: the party 
would not consider itself bound to stand aside in favour of a CPI 
candidate, even if the DMK chose to do so. In this fashion, the 
leadership tried to counter some of the charges of political oppor- 
tunism levelled against Swatantra when it announced its own talks 
with the DMK. 

There were some plausible reasons for possible DMK interest 
in reaching an understanding, apart from the desire to avoid any 
self-defeating triangular contests. Swatantra was a national party; 
it might provide some help financially, if it turned out to be a 'rich 
man's party'; it could help to make the DMK more respectable 
among upper caste voters ; and it unofficially supported English as 
the official language of India. As discussions proceeded, however, 
it became evident that Swatantra had relatively little to contribute, 


Electoral Adjustments 

financially or otherwise. For the DMK, the disadvantages of 
associating with a 'rich man's party' which was not actually rich 
outweighed more remote advantages which might accrue. 

Whatever differences might have kept them apart, the negotia- 
tions were certainly sustained and intense. The result, at one stage, 
was the preparation of two lists of seats, one in which final adjust- 
ments for dividing constituencies had been reached, the second 
which required further negotiations and which also would have 
required the DMK leadership to secure the withdrawal of some of 
its own candidates. It became clear that Swatantra asked too much 
of the DMK, particularly in the matter of prestige Lok Sabha seats 
which both wanted to contest but in which the DMK felt it 
could make a much better showing. When it became clear that the 
difficulties on the second list could not be resolved, Annadorai 
insisted on reconsidering both lists afresh, and with this, the 
talks broke down on a state-wide basis. 18 Rajaji was obliged to 
announce that 'the Swatantra Party will have to face the elections 
without the advantage which we had hoped to secure. Perhaps it is 
all for the good that we are forced to stand on our own legs. ' 19 
Annadorai spoke of the ' unattainability of an agreement' and of the 
futility of any further state-wide talks, and he attributed the failure 
of the talks to ' acute differences of opinion about certain con- 
stituencies '. 20 Thus they abandoned 'the joint expedition to the 
Congress mountain', which Rajaji termed 'our eve-of-the-election 
gift to the Congress'; but as Annadorai stated, 'though a pact has 
become impossible. . .the area of agreement wherein there will be 
no contest between the DMK and Swatantra Party will naturally 
be fairly large, and triangular contests will be only for a small 
number of places \ 21 In this, Annadorai was quite right, and, for 
example, a full and harmonious agreement was reached for the 
entire Madurai district. 22 

The failure to achieve a general understanding with the DMK 
was in small part responsible for what Rajaji himself termed 'a 
great defeat amounting to a rout' in Madras state, as Swatantra did 
not win a single Lok Sabha seat and secured only nine assembly 
seats, as opposed to seven and fifty, respectively, for the DMK. 
The DMK's successes in 1962 naturally heightened the party's 
confidence and led to plans to contest virtually every Lok Sabha 
and assembly seat in 1967, which did not leave much room for 
negotiations with Swatantra! 23 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

In addition to limited co-operation in 1962, as in Madurai 
district, the DMK showed some willingness to work with Swa- 
tantra on a limited basis, in spite of Swatantra's 1962 electoral 
debacle in Madras. 24 In return for Swatantra support in a key 
Madras by-election, the DMK supported Ranga's successful 
candidacy in the Chittoor by-election, thus helping the Swatantra 
President to return to the Lok Sabha, after his defeat in the Feb- 
ruary 1962 general elections. 25 The DMK also helped to send 
Ruthnaswamy and Mariswamy to the Rajya Sabha from Madras, 
which suggests that all may not yet be lost, and that the DMK might 
have had some debts to repay. Now that the DMK has formally 
abandoned its secessionist pleas, and with recurrent difficulties in 
the linguistic situation, there is still a distinct possibility that a 
modus vivendi may be worked out for 1967, in which Swatantra 
would probably hope to barter support for DMK assembly candi- 
dates in return for the opportunity to contest for the Lok Sabha. 2Q 


Negotiations between Swatantra and the Jan Sangh have ranged 
from discussions of all-India merger to modest efforts at local 
electoral adjustments. The parties never seem to have come close 
to merger, although the idea has been mooted repeatedly since very 
shortly after Swatantra was formed. 27 Even a general ' non-aggres- 
sion' pact proved to be beyond their grasp in 1962, as Swatantra 
and the Jan Sangh fought each other bitterly in many areas. Many 
local adjustments were, however, worked out in 1962, and at the 
present time (1966) talk of a merger — still very unlikely — can still 
be heard. 

The major * public ' issue that had to be faced in dealing with the 
Jan Sangh was its de facto communalism. Among other reasons 
given, this de facto communalism of the Sangh was cited by 
leaders of the Ganatantra Parishad and of the Gujarat kshatrya 
mahasabha to explain why they did not join or aline with the 
Sangh; and most leading Swatantrites echoed this sentiment. 28 For 
a party which set itself before the electorate as a secular body, as 
Swatantra did, close association with ' communalists ' would be a 
liability in some quarters. Moreover, the Sangh's association with 
Hindi imperialism, a key component of its militant nationalism, 
also smacked of intolerance. 

Swatantra dealt with the problem primarily by ignoring it, or by 


Electoral Adjustments 

white-washing the Sangh. Proclaiming its own secular basis, 
Swatantra insisted that association with the Sangh did not con- 
stitute endorsement of any of its views and Swatantrites were not 
permitted to speak from Sangh platforms in support of Sangh 
candidates. In addition, Masani, among other leaders, has listed it 
among the * democratic' opposition parties, and Rajaji has simply 
denied that the Jan Sangh could be called communal. At a Jan 
Sangh convention which he addressed he is reported to have called 
the delegates ' fellow workers for individual freedom and con- 
firmed opponents of the totalitarian tendencies of the Congress \ 29 
While this writer, among many others, remains unconvinced when 
confronting such pro- Sangh statements, these remarks suggest not 
only Swatantra's concern about the Sangh 'image' but also the 
way in which it sought to justify its association with that party. 

Leaders of both parties have always contended that the points of 
difference are few, but they have not always agreed on what the 
critical differences are. For some, economic issues bulk large; for 
others, it will be linguistic problems or foreign policy, or some non- 
doctrinal matter (such as Sangh discipline), that will be decisively 
divisive. For example, leaders of both parties usually assert that 
economic issues do not separate them; and many point to 'an 
identical programme on the question of nationalization and co- 
operative farming' as evidence of this proximity. 30 They often 
make common cause on these and other economic questions, 31 but 
it remains true that the Sangh is less solicitous of the interests of 
large property holders (both urban-industrial and rural) than is 
Swatantra. This is suggested by the Sangh charge that Swatantra 
is a c rich man's party' and was underscored in Raj as than, where 
the Sangh joined all other parties against Swatantra, in supporting 
land reform legislation which would further weaken the position of 
the princes and big jagirdars. This reflects the long-standing 
conflict between 'big' and 'little' Rajputs, and indicates that in 
some areas, economic issues may continue to divide the two parties, 
although national leaders underplay them. 32 

Ranga, emphasizing non-economic factors, said that it was 
foreign policy which kept the two parties from merging, 33 and 
certainly with respect to Pakistan and Kashmir, there have been 
and are today some very serious differences. Thus, while Swatantra 
was emphasizing the need for a detente with Pakistan and closer 
ties with the non-Communist West, the Sangh stressed forcible 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

liberation of all Indian territory held by both Pakistan and China, 
and withdrawal from the British Commonwealth. 34 However, 
balancing this is the fact that Red China provides a common foreign 
policy focus, which even Jan Sanghis are inclined now to take more 
seriously than Pakistan; while, contrariwise, many Swatantrites 
are as hostile towards Pakistan as are the most militant Jan Sanghis. 35 
Thus, there are ties that bind as well as points of difference in the 
area of economics and of foreign affairs. 

There is one subject, however, which generates considerable 
friction and which is likely to persist— the question of national 
language and the linguistically related issue of regionalism. The 
Sangh has had some non-Hindi speaking Presidents in recent years, 
but the party continues to favour an immediate shift to Hindi at the 
national level and to regional tongues for state government and 
educational purposes. 36 From its militant nationalist perspective, 
the Sangh is also severely critical of ' fissiparous ' forces in India, 
including the DMK and the Akali Dal. Jan Sanghis were among 
those in Banaras who so badly heckled Rajaji for speaking in 
English that he could not complete a scheduled address; and 
Swatantra is roundly abused for its association with the DMK and 
the Akalis. 37 Clearly, the relations between the two parties will 
depend in large measure on the issues which animate the country. 
Serious pressure from the left at home and/or from Red China 
abroad would seem to provide the bases for closest co-operation 
between the two, but it is clear from the Rajasthan case that some 
manifestations of domestic * radicalism 5 are acceptable to the 
Sangh but not to Swatantra. On balance, the differences — both 
actual and potential — seem serious enough to preclude complete 
merger. Even so, a Swatantra leader in Rajasthan, with no love 
lost for the Sangh, has none the less said that close co-operation, 
if not merger, between the two, 'will be a great step forward for 
democracy, individual liberty and general well-being of the 
country'. 38 

Prior to the 1962 elections, the Sangh, like the DMK, was 
critical of Swatantra not only on doctrinal grounds but also 
because it demanded so much for a new, untested party. In this 
instance, the Sangh could point with undisguised glee to a Lok 
Sabha by-election in Delhi, in which a Swatantra candidate was 
entered, against the better judgment of the party inner circle which 
finally yielded to pressure from the local organization. The candi- 


Electoral Adjustments 

date, one of the many ex-Congressmen who gravitated to Swatantra 
in Delhi in the early months, lost her security deposit, as the 
Sangh candidate was victorious. This was widely used as an 
example of Swatantra overconfidence, when the Sangh was 
approached in connection with electoral understandings. 39 

The state in which the most serious effort was made to reach an 
agreement with the Jan Sangh was Rajasthan. The Sangh was by 
no means a great power in the state, nor did it contain any great 
local notables upon whom it could count for derivative support, 
but in some areas it was well organized and its dedicated workers 
were highly regarded by other political leaders. Moreover, it had 
scored well in some municipal elections, giving it greater 
confidence. 40 

Relations in Rajasthan might have been less close than they 
ultimately were had the Maharani of Jaipur not entered Swatantra; 
but her presence did much to convince some Sangh leaders that 
Swatantra was a potential power in the state, a power with which 
they could not afford to be too cavalier and high-handed. Swatantra 
on its part sought to implement its general policy of avoiding all 
multi-cornered fights which could redound to the advantage of the 
Congress, and elaborate negotiations were undertaken, especially 
by Dungarpur and the Jaipur family for Swatantra and by the very 
able and energetic Jan Sangh leader, Bhairon Singh, although 
national leaders of both parties were involved at various stages. 41 

At least as early as May 1961, Dungarpur said that final decisions 
depended on the views of the national leadership. However, he said 
that the state unit of Swatantra hoped to come to some under- 
standing with the Jan Sangh, which he called a ' progressive ' party, 
though he criticized its anti-Pakistan position quite strongly. 42 In 
November 1961 it was reported that 'an electoral adjustment 
between the Swatantra Party and the Jana Sangh is now almost 
certain' as a result of the labours of Dungarpur and both the 
Maharaja and Maharani of Jaipur, with Bhairon Singh. 43 Particu- 
larly with the full grant of power to the Maharani to organize the 
electoral campaign and arrange adjustments in four major districts 
around Jaipur, prospects for these areas, at least, looked bright. 
In commenting on this situation, Raj aji insisted that a final decision 
would depend on the precise lists of candidates nominated and on 
their prospects for success : until these points were clear, the matter 
could not be settled but, pending this, negotiations continued. 44 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

As in the case of the DMK, however, state- wide talks ultimately 
broke down. Although the agreement had been reached 'in 
principle ', Dungarpur refused to concede Bhairon Singh's de- 
mands for seats, which were to be split ' 50-50 ', with any other 
adjustments made by Swatantra having to come from its own half. 45 
There were also reports that the Jan Sangh had insisted on financial 
assistance in some areas as a quid pro quo for an understanding, 
which Swatantra leaders also found unacceptable. 46 With only 
eighty- eight seats to claim as their own and to use in bargaining with 
the other opposition groups, under the Sangh formula, Swatantra 
leaders were forced to announce that 'an overall settlement with 
the Jana Sangh is something we do not approve of. As usual, 
however, there was an important addition: 'The door is wide 
open for local adjustments.' 47 

In the last weeks before the elections, many local adjustments 
were, in fact, worked out, but in Jaipur City itself there was a 
curious spectacle. In some assembly contests, Jan Sangh and 
Swatantra candidates opposed each other, and the Maharaja of 
Jaipur made speeches supporting the Sangh ! 48 Elsewhere, a number 
of Swatantra- Sangh contests took place, indicating that even 
between these two parties, in a state where a concerted effort might 
have borne ample fruit for them, much remained to be done 
before the Congress would confront a reasonably cohesive 
challenge from the right-wing opposition. 

The results of the Rajasthan election were disastrous for the 
Congress, as most of the state ministers were defeated and 
Congress' percentage of assembly seats slipped to 50 per cent. 
Taken together, the Swatantra, Sangh, and other rightist forces 
netted at least fifty seats, to eighty-seven for the Congress, and 
internal bickering in the ruling party suggested considerable 
instability. It was in this context that the Jan Sangh, at the 
national level, considered authorizing its Rajasthan unit to form an 
alliance with Swatantra; 49 while on its part, Swatantra for a time 
toyed with the idea of attempting to form a coalition ministry (if 
the opportunity arose) with the Sangh, some independents, and 
some Congressmen whose support was to be secured by offering the 
chief ministership to the late Jai Narain Vyas, a former Congress 
Chief Minister whose power had waned considerably. A variety of 
circumstances combined to preclude such a possibility: Masani 
opposed such a move if its success would depend on ' buying off' 


Electoral Adjustments 

dissident Congressmen; other Swatantra leaders felt that even if 
such a ministry could be formed it could be squeezed from office 
by the central government because of the state's precarious 
financial position; some Swatantra leaders were fearful that their 
party would be overwhelmed by the more energetic Sangh MLAs; 
some sharp conflicts arose between the two parties (as on the 
question of further land reform and the constitutional amendment 
creating Nagaland); 50 the Congress ministry did not collapse, and 
Vyas died! Still, it is evident that, under certain circumstances, the 
Jan Sangh is willing to consider alliances and coalitions, at least in 
some states. 51 By contrast, in UP, where Swatantra is weak and has 
become weaker with the resignation of Paliwal and the death of 
Mankapur, there have been rumours of a possible merger of the 
Swatantra unit in that state with the Jan Sangh; and here the 
language issue plays a part. 52 

There was a widespread feeling in Swatantra circles that the 
Sangh would be a bit chastened after Swatantra had demonstrated 
some strength in the 1962 elections. This seems not to have been 
the case to any significant extent. In the main, Sangh leaders 
concede that Swatantra did better than Mrs Sehgal's disaster in 
Delhi would have suggested, and for this reason they have been 
somewhat more cordial in their relations with the new party. Until 
his death, Dr Raghuvira, Jan Sangh President, met recurrently 
with Masani and other Swatantra leaders, to discuss merger pro- 
posals, legislative fronts, etc., and as we have seen there was a 
willingness to co-operate in Rajasthan, and to a lesser extent else- 
where. But Jan Sangh sentiment still runs fairly strong against 
close association with Swatantra, and the Sangh shows signs of 
resenting the Swatantra successes. It feels that the latter 's organiza- 
tion is weak and derivative and, thus, of uncertain staying power. 
Moreover, smaller Jan Sangh contingents consistently outperform 
Swatantra's forces, as in Rajasthan, where Bhairon Singh repeatedly 
dominates the right-wing effort. 53 

As in the case of the DMK, there have been some encouraging 
signs for Swatantra in its dealings with the Sangh. In the series of 
prestige by-elections in 1963 — Farrukhabad, Amroha, Jaunpur, 
and Rajkot — many opposition parties joined together in supporting 
one candidate against the Congress, and, as we have seen, Vajpayee, 
a leading Sangh parliamentarian, and the Sangh cadres joined in 
Masani's successful campaign in Rajkot. In addition, the President 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

(1964) of the Jan Sangh, D. P. Ghosh, announced that Masani and 
Sangh General- Secretary Upadhyaya had reached an accord for 
electoral adjustments between the two parties. Against this, how- 
ever, we must balance Upadhyaya's assertion that no alliances or 
fronts have been agreed upon and that 'ordinarily we are not for 
election adjustments'. So, too, we must note the announcement 
that the Sangh at one point planned to contest the Rajkot Lok 
Sabha seat against Masani, whom it supported in the 1963 by- 
election. In this area, however, the hard decisions of 1966-7 alone 
will indicate the degree to which the parties can co-operate. Most 
probably, however, the Sangh will be willing to work closely with 
Swatantra only where the latter is overwhelmingly strong or where 
both parties are weak; there is no evidence to suggest that the 
Sangh will be co-operative where it itself is fairly strong. 54 

The departure of Ramgarh and the possible decline of Swatantra 
in Rajasthan have hurt Swatantra once more, because it now looks 
decidedly less like a prospective national opposition than it did after 
the 1962 elections. Under the prevailing circumstances, no 
Swatantra- Sangh merger is likely to occur, at least on terms 
presently acceptable to Swatantra. Swatantra leaders made this 
clear, in commenting on a press report that merger talks were in 
progress. 55 However, many people have taken note of a lead article 
in the Statesman, which called for a merger of the Sangh and 
Swatantra, because both were 'unfinished structures' — the Sangh 
with a base but no apex, Swatantra with an apex but no base. 56 
Swatantrites are certainly envious of the Sangh's dedicated cadres, 
if not excited about the issues which animate them. The Sangh, 
while publicly scornful of the 'rich man's party', is, for its part, 
aware that big business prefers Swatantra to the Sangh among 
available opposition parties; and Vajpayee noted, but not with any 
particular sadness or distress, that Tatas had given Rs. 200,000 
(cf. our figures) to Swatantra but ' did not give a pie to the Sangh '. 57 
Also, there are some signs that in order to expand its activities 
into non-Hindi regions, the Sangh has had to reconsider its thus 
far rather virulent stand in favour of Hindi; and any retrenchment 
here would narrow the doctrinal gap between the two parties. 58 
Such matters are important but are not likely to prove decisive, for 
there are other barriers — such as the power factor — which will 
continue to keep the parties apart. Discussions at all levels will 
certainly continue, and there will doubtless be a number of local 


Electoral Adjustments 

adjustments, A coalition ministry in Raj as than is not out of the 
question, either. But a full union of the two parties, or even some 
sort of ' federation ' as Rajaji once discussed, seems remote, indeed. 59 


One state in which relations with the Jan Sangh have not been 
particularly cordial is the Punjab, where Swatantra has decided, 
for the time at least, to aline itself with the Akali Dal, a Sikh com- 
munal organization, sometime partner of the Congress, and spear- 
head of the drive for a separate Punjabi-speaking state, which 
would — not incidentally either— be a Sikh-majority state. 60 Neither 
Swatantra's proximity to the Akalis, nor the Sangh's displeasure is 
at all surprising. The late Udham Singh Nagoke and Basant Singh, 
Swatantra state President and General-Secretary respectively, 
were formerly closely alined with the Akalis, and the early support 
for Swatantra from members of the Sikh ruling family of Patiala 
reinforced this proclivity. The Sangh on its part was unequivoc- 
ally opposed to the demand for a division of the Punjab, and hence 
to the Akalis and to those who gave them aid and comfort. 61 More- 
over, given the tendency to aline with the Akali Dal, it then followed 
that some triangular contests involving the Congress, the Sangh, 
and Swatantra-Akali Dal could actually be advantageous to Swa- 
tantra. At least it was hoped in some quarters that the Sangh and 
Congress would split the Hindu vote, enabling the Sikh-oriented 
Swatantra-Akali forces to capture some seats. However, Swatantra 
did not rush headlong into this association with the Akalis, nor has 
the association been without its very serious problems. 

In principle, Swatantra hoped to break the Punjabi saha 
'complex 5 by appealing to the electorate on non-communal issues, 
i.e. by opposing the proposals for joint co-operative farming, by 
rallying both Hindu and Sikh in opposition to new inheritance laws 
and other social reforms, by stressing tax burdens, corruption, and 
the like. In dealing with the Punjabi suba demand specifically, it 
was the Swatantra view that proponents of a divided Punjab were 
politically short-sighted: with the menace of 'statism' flowing 
from New Delhi, the creation of a separate Punjabi-speaking state 
would be of no consequence, because the centre would continue to 
enforce its will against all states. Only if statism were checked, in 
other words, would it become relevant to worry about the issue of a 



The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

united versus a divided Punjab. On the principle of 'first things 
first', Akalis were encouraged to concentrate on defeating the 
Congress and to co-operate with others who were striving for that 

The efforts to use anti-statism as the solvent for communal- 
linguistic problems were generally unsuccessful. As we have seen, 
within the Swatantra Party itself there were tensions between 
Hindu and Sikh interests: Judge Gurnam Singh, an outspoken 
defender of the Akali cause, was first expelled by the Chandigarh 
unit of Swatantra because his 'recent activities were communal in 
nature and detrimental to the interests of the Swatantra Party'. 62 
After being reinstated at the insistence of Nagoke, Gurnam Singh 
finally withdrew from Swatantra, under some pressure, in order to 
be free to advocate the Akali cause, although there have been 
reports that he retains his party membership and consults fre- 
quently with his erstwhile colleagues. As we have also seen, 
within the state Swatantra Party there were recurrent complaints 
by the Sikhs that the party was too generous towards Hindus, and 
vice versa — a point which is illustrated by the written charge by a 
Hindu Swatantrite in the Punjab that Basant Singh, a Sikh, 'has 
betrayed the party and become an Akali'. 63 Even the Swatantra 
committee of inquiry into alleged repression of Akalis in the Punjab 
became bound up with the pro- and ami- suba positions. 64 

Consistent with its goal of minimizing internecine strife among 
non-Communist, anti-Congress forces, Swatantra none the less 
tried hard to find a modus vivendi with the Akalis. This effort was 
complicated by the fact that in the tangle of Punjab politics, the 
Akalis were also striving for electoral adjustments with the local 
Communist Party organization, and the latter proved to be very 
demanding in its terms for co-operation. Swatantra had hoped to 
forge an anti-Congress front, excluding the CPI, recommending 
that 'non-party' candidates be selected for the prestige seats which 
each component of the front would probably want to contest itself. 65 
Yet the CPI intended to put up a rather large number of candi- 
dates under its own banner, announced some of the names rather 
early, and declined to consider withdrawing candidates so named. 
The Akalis themselves had to reduce the number of candidates they 
would put up, so as to avoid wholesale conflicts with the CPI, and, 
as a result, the Akalis had relatively few seats over which they 
could bargain with Swatantra. 66 Moreover, the CPI was violently 


Electoral Adjustments 

opposed to Akali support for Nagoke, and in the final outcome 
Nagoke was withdrawn as a candidate for the Lok Sabha in the 
interests of broader co-operation among opposition parties. 67 
Swatantra was thus being ground away between the Akalis and the 
CPI and found itself obliged to settle for only a scattering of seats 
— unless it wanted to 'go it alone' — instead of the hundred or so 
assembly and Lok Sabha candidates it had hoped to put up. 68 Very 
distressing from the standpoint of the national party leaders, 
particularly Masani, was the fact that some Swatantra candidates 
choose to contest on the Akali 'hand' symbol or jointly under the 
'hand' and the Swatantra 'star', rather than with the Swatantra 
' star ' alone. 69 

These complicated manoeuvrings did not result in very many 
'straight fights', and even the Akalis and the CPI fought one 
another in many constituencies. 70 Yet in the February 1962 elec- 
tions, no Swatantrites contested against Akalis for the Lok Sabha 
seats (while in five of the state's twenty- two Lok Sabha contests 
Swatantra fought the Jan Sangh); Swatantra itself often ran Sikhs 
as its assembly candidates in the Punjabi-speaking regions; and 
Akali candidates for the Lok Sabha received financial support from 
the Swatantra Party, on the condition that those who were elected 
join the Swatantra parliamentary group as 'associate' members. 71 

Such close ties as those prevailing in the Lok Sabha, coupled 
with the widespread belief that the social and economic views of 
Swatantra and the Akali Dal 'are more or less identical' 72 have 
given rise to recurrent post-election reports of a possible merger. 
Occasionally, a high-ranking Akali has joined Swatantra, and one 
Akali- Swatantra MP called for a merger and said that his two 
colleagues also favoured such a move. 73 Rajaji himself noted this 
possibility much earlier, but he also argued that even a close 
alliance would require as a quid pro quo on Swatantra's part a 
reasonably full and open endorsement of the Punjabi suba demand; 
and this was not forthcoming in a manner acceptable to most Akali 
leaders. 74 Somewhat paradoxically, Swatantra and the Akalis were 
likely to have made common cause particularly if the Punjabi suba 
issue remained unresolved, yet it appeared that if political 
temperatures ran high over this issue, Swatantra could not have 
supported the Akalis to the extent necessary for close co-operation, 
let alone merger. 75 In this context it is understandable that Swatan- 
tra continued in its efforts to find non-communal, non-linguistic 

227 15-2 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

common ground and that it continued to argue that the * statist' 
policies of the government would render illusory the greater 
autonomy involved in a separate, Punjabi-speaking state. 

In early 1963, Sant Fateh Singh, one of the two pre-eminent 
Akali leaders, ruled out the possibility of a merger between his 
group and Swatantra and indicated that the three Akalis might be 
asked to dissociate themselves from the Swatantra Lok Sabha 
group, although nothing was done on this score at the time. 76 It has 
also been announced that the Sant-led Akalis would ally with the 
CPI (Right) in the 1967 elections. 77 Finally, in 1965, the three 
Akali MPs were asked to dissociate themselves from the Swatantra 
group, but they and the Akali leadership were prevailed upon to 
permit their continued association with Swatantra. Master Tara 
Singh, a declining and somewhat discredited Akali leader, attempted 
to make something of a political comeback; and he talked extensively 
with Rajaji, Ranga, and other Swatantra leaders about the Sikh- 
Punjabi question and about relations with Swatantra. Rajaji insisted 
on first things first, i.e. defeat the Congress and then worry about 
the Sikh-Punjabi question; but some of the Akalis were not 
inclined to be restrained and patient. Sardar Kapur Singh, an 
Akali- Swatantra MP in the Lok Sabha (Oxford-educated, ex-ICS), 
complained that the Sikhs had been ignored and not given their 
rightful place in free India. Tara Singh disregarded Rajaji's 
advice about the need for 'putting smaller issues aside now' and 
for having the Sikhs take ' full part in saving the country from the 
Congress Party and its ruinous economic policies': Tara Singh 
declared strongly for an autonomous Sikh state within India, by 
contrast with the earlier, linguistically based Punjabi suba appeal. 
In this he was seconded by Judge Gurnam Singh who demanded 
a 'self-determined political status for the Sikhs', a demand which 
was repudiated by Fateh Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala, and other 
Sikh leaders. 78 At the time of the bifurcation of the Punjab (1966), 
Swatantra leaders were rethinking their approach to that state, 
i.e. a heavy reliance on the Akalis, especially the Tara Singh group. 
The latter appeared to be losing ground and a commitment to 
self-determination for the Sikhs would have been most difficult to 
reconcile with Swatantra' s own internal politics and its desire to be 
a national party which must work co-operatively with the Jan 
Sangh. For the moment, the parliamentary alliance remains, and 
Tara Singh and Rajaji have been in close contact; but it appears 


Electoral Adjustments 

unlikely that Swatantra will maintain its close proximity to a 
section of the Akalis, or that if it does it will do either much good. 79 

At the present juncture, it appears most unlikely that any mergers 
involving the Jan Sangh, DMK, or the Akalis will take place, and 
Swatantra will confront much the same range of problems in the 
future. It will, however, confront them as a tested party with some- 
what better financial support, which will help in its dealings with 
these other groups. Neither the Jan Sangh nor the DMK seems 
anxious to get too close to the 'rich man's party', although well- 
filled Swatantra coffers would exert considerable appeal. Moreover, 
the departure of Ramgarh and the apparent demise of Swatantra 
in Bihar casts some doubt on the viability of Swatantra, which will 
further reduce the likelihood of important mergers. 

Within the Swatantra Party itself, there is by no means universal 
assent to a policy of indiscriminate alliance and efforts at merger. 
For example, Raja Anand Chand of Bilaspur, Dungarpur, and 
many another aristocrat, complained of Jan Sangh electoral tactics 
towards Swatantra; Dungarpur also expressed concern at the 
'socialism' of the Sangh and said that too many of its stalwarts 
were 'fanatical'; members of the Jaipur family censured it for its 
'militancy' and its anti-Muslim stance; Pasricha termed it 'com- 
munal and fascist'; and a Bombay businessman called the Sangh a 
'subsidiary owned outright' by the RSS, and said that Swatantra 
should have minimal relations with the party for this reason. Many 
Swatantrites are, in short, upset about the Sangh's communal 
tendencies, its fanaticism, and what many consider an under- 
current of anti-property sentiment. 80 Others, more sympathetic to 
the Sangh (like Munshi and Vaidya) are troubled, on the other 
hand, by the Akali and DMK demands and their anti-national 
implications. This has generated considerable strain within 
Swatantra, as questionnaire and interview data bear out. 81 Respon- 
dents run the gamut from 'go-it-alone' purists to ' victory-at-any- 
cost' compromisers; and evident throughout are the many currents 
and cross-currents which have made the creation of a reasonably 
unified, all-India opposition an extraordinarily difficult task. But 
within Swatantra, the question of alliances has generally been 
handled in a manner analogous to the question of the role of the 
aristocracy : maximization of anti-Congress strength is the principal 
desideratum and real trouble is generated only where local power 
considerations bulk large. For all his complaints about the Sangh, 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

Dungarpur wants to work closely with that party, at least under 
prevailing conditions; and the Maharani of Jaipur is similarly 
disposed. Paliwal, certainly no sympathizer of the militant Hindus 
after their abuse of his Muslim wife and their criticism of his own 
allegedly pro-Muslim sympathies, still explained his willingness 
to co-operate by reference to the Hitler-Stalin pact; and Ruthna- 
swamy was almost equally blunt about political 'imperatives'. 82 
Masani and a handful of others among the top leaders do, however, 
seem genuinely concerned about the consequences of excessive 
political 'pragmatism'. 

Swatantra did not limit its negotiations to those parties discussed 
in detail above. However, in other cases, either the party in ques- 
tion or the negotiations were virtually inconsequential. For example, 
Ranga mentioned the Peasants' and Workers' Party of Maha- 
rashtra as a potential ally, but almost nothing was done along these 
lines, in part because Swatantra itself could not get off the ground 
in that state. In Bihar, the Jharkand Party was locally potent in the 
Hazaribagh plateau region, where Ramgarh's strength also lay; 
and between them, these two parties almost completely routed the 
Congress in the region. At one point, there were rather serious 
talks of merger between Swatantra and Jharkand, and Ramgarh 
claimed that there was no serious bar — save the question of Jhar- 
kand leader Jaipal Singh's position in the Swatantra hierarchy. 
Jharkand ultimately merged with the Congress but has latterly 
dissociated itself, to resume its independent identity. At present, 
however, Jharkand shows no signs of leaning toward what remains 
of Swatantra in Bihar. 83 

In a few instances, Swatantra and local PSP units entered into 
negotiations. Apart from random reports of some PSP entrants into 
Swatantra (e.g. Imam), there was a feeling that with the apparent 
decline of the PSP, its more Gandhian elements were vulnerable to 
appeals. Pasricha, among others, insisted that few PSPers were 
genuine socialists of a type that Swatantra need shun, and they 
carried on sporadic negotiations to win some of them over. One 
Swatantra leader from Bombay City laboured long to win over en 
bloc the PSP units in Saurashtra and claimed to be on the verge of 
success — when, he said, Masani insisted on joining the negotiations 
and alienated the would-be recruits. Devgadh-Baria, to name only 
one Swatantra leader in Gujarat, insists that relations between the 


Electoral Adjustments 

PSP and Swatantra in that state are good, that a merger would not 
be out of the question, and that for the time, the true test 'is whether 
they walk out when we walk out ' — which has been the case, accord- 
ing to him. H. V. Kamath, a leading PSP man from Mysore, was 
at one point reported to be 'very close' to Swatantra and efforts were 
made to work out a strictly personal understanding with him, as a 
prelude to broader efforts to recruit among the Mysore PSP. There 
is little evidence to indicate that many in the PSP share Swatantra's 
confidence about future relations; and many leaders on both sides 
are adamantly opposed to close co-operation. Yet there are many 
Swatantra leaders, at least, for whom the socialism of the PSP 
holds no terrors; and they will doubtless continue to work quietly 
to bring the parties closer together. Given the demoralization 
evident in PSP ranks, it is not difficult to visualize some defectors 
to Swatantra, particularly in the non-aristocratic areas. 84 

Negotiations with the RRP were carried on for some time at the 
national and state levels, particularly in Rajasthan, where Swa- 
tantra was, in effect, the heir of the RRP. At one point, it was 
reported that the RRP leadership had agreed to merge with 
Swatantra on a national basis but that a last-minute appeal from the 
Jan Sangh prevented this. The RRP was involved in a variety of 
conferences among opposition parties in Rajasthan, the Punjab, 
UP, Madhya Pradesh, and elsewhere, as part of the effort to secure 
more straight fights with the Congress. Agreements were reached 
with the remnants of the RRP in Rajasthan, in which Swatantra 
was asked for and conceded too much, judging from the RRP's 
1962 electoral performance; and Swatantra will doubtless virtually 
ignore the RRP henceforth, save in a few constituencies. To some 
extent this may be an academic question in view of the RRP's weak- 
ness and in light of the fact that the RRP man elected in 1962 to the 
Lok Sabha from Rajasthan has joined the Swatantra group. 85 

A recent and inconclusive development of potentially great in- 
terest flowed from a decision on the part of Swatantra's top leaders 
to nominate as many scheduled caste men as seemed feasible, 
for the Lok Sabha and the assemblies. This suggests that Swatantra 
may have decided to make a move to rally the largely inarticulate 
untouchable vote; and to this end, Masani undertook negotiations 
with the Republican Party of India (the successor to Ambedkar's 
Scheduled Caste Federation), to discuss electoral alliances or 
adjustments. 86 It seems unlikely that Swatantra will put up large 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

numbers of scheduled caste men (in part for financial reasons 
already discussed), but it may well try to work something out with 
the Republicans and to display its own bona fides by running a few 
scheduled caste men on its own, outside of the reserved con- 
stituencies. Masani and a few others feel that such a move might be 
politically opportune, but they also feel that it is not only consonant 
with but required by the party's commitment to equality for all. 
This commitment is not sufficiently well received by very many in 
the party, to the extent that caste Hindus would stand aside in 
non-reserved constituencies; and the unspeakable condescension 
with which harijan MLAs are treated by most of the Swatantra 
leadership in the Raj as than assembly (and the extent to which 
they are excluded from the normal functioning of the party there) 
reflects the problems in this area. Yet in areas where Swatantra has 
not been able to gain a foothold through other caste groups, a turn 
to the scheduled castes (and to the Republican Party) may yield 
some results. Swatantra already has in its ranks a few intelligent 
and highly respected scheduled caste men and its legislative 
contingents, both nationally and in the states, contain a high 
proportion of scheduled caste and tribe representatives. If — and 
this is a very big if— it could build upon this base to some extent, 
come to treat the scheduled caste legislators as equals and prepare 
them for effective legislative performance, the Swatantra Party 
might broaden its social base and improve its position as a party of 
equality and of the common man. Much depends here on the 
extent to which Swatantra successfully converts the aristocrats, in 
particular, into Tory democrats and persuades them to be trustees 
for and educators of the lower classes. It would be foolish to expect 
much to come of this, but once again political imperatives seem to 
coincide with certain Swatantra principles, at least as understood 
by Masani and a few others. Efforts along these lines will certainly 
bear watching. They could conceivably presage a bold move to 
link the old elites with the lowest classes, against the broad, middle 
peasantry which is thus far political dominant, inside the Congress 
and in many other parties, too. This, to speculate further and even 
more wildly, could help to generate an Indian variant of Tory 
democracy, if only on a modest scale. 


Electoral Adjustments 


The negotiations with the Akali Dal point up PaliwaPs early 
suggestion that Swatantra be a 'federal' party, existing primarily 
at the national parliamentary level as a 'holding company' for 
local parties. Swatantra support for the Akali Lok Sabha candidates, 
on the condition that they become 'associate' members of the 
Swatantra parliamentary group is an apt illustration of PaliwaPs 
'federal' notion. Beyond this, however, Swatantra was in many 
ways 'federal' in a de facto sense, if not de jure. Ramgarh retained 
the bicycle symbol of his Janata Party for the 1962 elections, even 
though his party had officially merged with Swatantra. The 
Ganatantra Parishad was denied the right to use its bow-and- 
arrow, if it merged with Swatantra before the February 1962 
elections, and it decided to postpone the merger until after the 
general elections. In both cases, retention of the old symbol and 
stress on local issues put these parties in a good position to resume 
an independent position. Akin to this was the request by certain 
Swatantrites in the Punjab to the party office that they be permitted 
to contest under the Akali hand symbol, or j ointly under the hand and 
Swatantra star. So, too, J. Mohammed Imam asked party permis- 
sion to contest either as an independent or under the PSP symbol, 
and many others similarly asked to contest as independents. In all 
such cases, there was considerable strain between Masani and the 
local units and the individuals involved, because Masani desired to 
build a strong and disciplined Swatantra Party, using its own 
symbol and its own programme, as opposed to the tendencies 
toward parochialism and uncertain commitment implicit in the 
federal scheme. 

As the Akali case indicates, this bears on the question of under- 
standings and alliances in an important way. It has been suggested 
periodically that given Swatantra' s determination to challenge the 
Congress at the centre, it should sacrifice assembly seats, for which 
it would support local parties, on the condition that these local 
parties would in turn support Swatantra candidates for the Lok 
Sabha. This is a variant on the Akali theme; it formed the basis for 
talks with the DMK at one juncture; and it is an intriguing tech- 
nique for reconciling Indian diversity with national political life. 

It is probable that the pluralism of the Indian subcontinent will 
force recurrent attention to this technique by would-be consoli- 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

dators of the party system, and it suggests one possible approach 
to coalition-building. Masani is inclined to resist this doggedly, 
but recalcitrant 'raw materials' have obliged him to yield, but not 
without protest. However, the half-way house represented by the 
division of assembly seats (to the local party) and Lok Sabha seats 
(to Swatantra) is not likely to bear much fruit in the rigorous 
Indian political environment. To defer wholly to local parties for 
Lok Sabha support would put Swatantra at the mercy of these 
parties. In rejecting this, Masani has a good deal of company. If, 
however, Swatantra develops its own ranks to provide cadres for 
Lok Sabha elections, these local units will not want to forego local 
power for the possible advantage of capturing some Lok Sabha 
seats. Similarly, the local parties with which Swatantra deals in 
such situations are not willing to forego national politics in order to 
accommodate Swatantra, particularly where the basic perspectives 
of the latter diverge from their own. The Akalis wanted to be free 
to press for Punjabi suba and the DMK for retention of English, 
neither of which Swatantra was willing to endorse as formal party 
policy at the legislative level. 

Furthermore, such a system would complicate the electoral 
campaign, if Swatantra insisted on putting up its own candidate 
for the Lok Sabha, while supporting those of other parties for the 
assemblies. With a largely illiterate electorate, the principal means 
of identifying a party and its candidates is the electoral symbol, the 
importance of which has already been suggested at many junctures. 
If the Swatantra scheme were to be tried, Swatantra and the local 
party with which it was allied would have different symbols with 
which to designate their candidates; and it would be quite con- 
fusing to tell the same voter to vote for symbol 'x' on the white 
ballot and symbol ' y ' on the pink ballot. At least it would be much 
simpler if the voter had to worry about only one symbol. It would 
appear that either a more strenuous effort to develop a 'unitary' 
party, which Masani obviously wants, or a greater willingness to 
accept a radically 'federal' scheme as proposed by Paliwal and as 
illustrated by the Akali case, would seem more feasible than the 
hybrid we have just examined. Of course, this is not simply an 
'either-or' proposition, because Swatantra can combine all three 
techniques as circumstances may require. But it is clear from this 
discussion that power, doctrine, and electoral complications work 
against the hybrid solution to the multi-party problem with which 


Electoral Adjustments 

Swatantra has been wrestling; and Swatantra's electoral predica- 
ment, both in terms of its own internal situation and in its relation- 
ships with other parties, reveals only too clearly the barriers which 
stand in the way of a would-be national party in India. Once again, 
leadership, ample finances, and some organizational stability bulk 
large in any assessment of present achievements and future 


In an earlier chapter, we saw that Swatantra's efforts to recruit 
* old warriors ' who were actually still in the Congress went largely 
unrewarded. Still, no one doubted that there was much pro- 
Swatantra sentiment within the Congress, and there were many 
ways in which this was manifested. Thus far, defection has been 
more spiritual than physical, and there is no likelihood that 
Swatantra ranks will be flooded with Congress defectors, partic- 
ularly with Nehru gone. Here as elsewhere Congress hegemony 
and the Congress name, organization, and finances inhibit a more 
rational alinement of political forces in India; and once again, 
Swatantra is at a serious disadvantage because of its own organiza- 
tional and financial problems. In addition, in many northern 
states many conservative Congressmen are by no means fully 
reconciled to co-operating with the aristocrats, and vice versa. 
This also hurts Swatantra's chances somewhat. 

The existence of a ' Swatantra lobby ' in the Congress has received 
ample attention. Link, for example, has adverted to the 'thinly 
disguised Swatantras on the Congress benches ', the ' creation of a 
Swatantra lobby in the Congress Parliamentary Party', 'the 
growth of reactionary lobbies in the Congress ' generally, and, in 
connection with the Punjab, it has observed that 'inside the 
Congress . . . especially in its dissident wing, the Swatantra outlook 
is gaining ground'. 87 A UP Congressman, Govind Sahay, in 
launching a general broadside against Swatantra and against the 
pot pourri that is the Congress, stated that 'the Congress has a 
good number of Swatantrites in its fold '. 88 Sanjivva Reddy, when 
Congress President, announced what everyone already knew, 
namely that there are many Congressmen who ' do not believe in 
the policies we are trying to implement ' ; 89 and of course Nehru 
himself often enjoined the acknowledged dissidents to remove 
themselves from the party. This is what some leading figures, 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

including some prominent Swatantrites, did, but no one can 
doubt that far more remained than opted out. 

This pro- Swatantra sentiment has many channels through which 
to express itself. It is common knowledge that two former Congress 
Chief Ministers in Rajasthan— the late Jai Narayan Vyas and 
Hiralal Shastri — were consulted about Swatantra candidates prior 
to the 1962 elections and that they gave aid and comfort to 
Swatantra, while retaining their Congress labels. It is also no 
secret around Jaipur that some Swatantrites wanted to offer Vyas 
the chief ministership in a Swatantra-Jan Sangh-independent 
coalition which seemed a remote possibility. 90 Swatantra leaders 
in Gujarat gratefully acknowledge in private the help received 
from some Congressmen who abused Swatantra in public but who 
worked behind the scenes on behalf of its candidates. 91 So, too, in 
parts of Andhra some Reddy landlords, nominally Congressmen, 
worked for Swatantra in the same sub rosa fashion. Many of these 
insisted that they would join Swatantra were it not for possible 
Congress reprisals and they insisted that if ever Swatantra mounted 
a well-financed challenge to the Congress they would shed their 
timidity and come into open opposition. 

Further evidence of support for Swatantra within the Congress 
is provided by the Rajya Sahha elections, where the selection 
devolves upon MLAs, whose party affiliation is, of course, known. 
Prior to the 1962 elections, Swatantra had only a small scattering 
of MLAs, and the Swatantra contingents had little hope of sending 
a fellow party man to the Rajya Sabha, without support from other 
parties or independents. However, in UP Rajya Sabha elections in 
i960, Swatantra industrialist Ram Gopal Gupta (whose brother 
was a prominent Congressman) was elected to the upper house, 
with the help of Congress MLAs, who defied the party whip to 
vote for him. Similarly, in the Punjab, Swatantra leader Nagoke 
lost his bid for election to the Rajya Sabha, in part because the CPI 
instructed its MLAs to vote for Congressmen, rather than to allow 
Nagoke to be elected with the aid of Congress votes. It was also 
reported that in Andhra, eighteen Congressmen defied the party 
whip to help elect another Swatantrite to the Rajya Sabha, and 
such activities persist. 92 In Madras, after the 1962 elections, Mari- 
swamy received the highest vote total of any Rajya Sabha candi- 
date, even though Swatantra itself had a very small group in the 
assembly. It is known that the DMK gave some support, but there 


Electoral Adjustments 

is evidence that some Congressmen voted for him as well. 93 Actual 
physical defectors are thus supplemented by spiritual defectors, 
whose sentiments, extra-parliamentary efforts and occasional 
Rajya Sabha votes lie with Swatantra. 

While it would seem that close co-operation with these sympa- 
thetic Congress elements would be a major goal from the Swatan- 
tra standpoint, some historical animosities stand in the way, 
particularly in the northern states. For example, a number of 
Swatantra national leaders have insisted that Sampurnanand, a 
veteran Congressman who is now Governor of Rajasthan and an 
acknowledged conservative, is sympathetic to Swatantra. Some 
Swatantra MLAs in Rajasthan also believe this, although they have 
not had substantial contact with the Governor. However, as of 
1963, Dungarpur had not even paid his respects to the Governor 
or communicated with him in any way, and he made it very clear 
he was loath to do so. The reasons for this he also made clear: 
Dungarpur is fighting the old battles against the Congress. In some 
of her parliamentary work, the Maharani of Jaipur categorically 
refused to contact some members of the Congress with whom 
relations had been far from cordial in the c good old days ', even 
though Swatantra leaders strongly urged her to do so. Ramgarh, 
Dungarpur, the Maharani and many of their aristocratic colleagues 
still bitterly resent Congress abuse, and even conservative Con- 
gressmen are steadfastly shunned. The aristocrat/non-aristocrat 
split which plagued Swatantra internally in UP and elsewhere also 
works against Swatantra in its relations with other groups and 
individuals, as in Rajasthan. This is a real problem for those who 
would seek to unify the conservative forces in the country, and 
Swatantra is no exception. 94 

The feeling for support in the Congress, and the aristocrat/non- 
aristocrat split were examined through questionnaires, and the 
findings support the preceding arguments. Swatantrites who had 
been in the Congress, and the 'old warriors' in particular, almost 
invariably argued that 'in their heart of hearts' virtually all older 
Congressmen were sympathetic to Swatantra. On the other hand, 
those Swatantrites who had never been in the Congress, particularly 
the aristocrats, almost invariably argued that all Congressmen were 
'socialists' or 'communists'. The old saying has it that politics 
makes strange bedfellows, which is indisputably true; but in the 
case of Swatantra, political necessity has not yet been sufficiently 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

felt in some quarters to help overcome some long-standing social 
conflicts. 95 

No one could seriously expect a sudden, massive defection from 
the Congress to Swatantra, although there are circumstances under 
which some Congressmen would join Swatantra. The apparent 
optimum situation from Swatantra's standpoint would involve a 
gradual but steady pressure toward the left by the Congress. This 
would be more likely to drive out smaller groups of Congressmen 
who would be less able by themselves to constitute a significant 
political force. Even so, such defectors would prefer to start a 
'reformed Congress' or a 'democratic Congress 5 , etc., rather 
than lose all contact with the Congress name. One high-ranking 
Congressman sympathetic to Swatantra said that he would in all 
probability prefer to remain in the Congress and that if he did 
depart, he would not join Swatantra. He mentioned specifically 
that he would form a new party, retaining the Congress name in 
some way, and that he would hope to attract Swatantrites into it. 96 

In the period between 1962 and 1967, this has, in fact, come to 
pass, as dissident Congressmen have formed such groups in Bengal, 
Kerala, and Orissa. Orissa is, of course, the most important from 
the Swatantra standpoint, first because it has some strength there 
and second because the leader of the Jana Congress is Mahtab, who 
headed the Congress-Parishad coalition ministry in the late 1950s. 
Swatantra has sought to work very closely with Mahtab's group, 
with an eye to a possible coalition ministry; and there was some 
hope, for a time, that the two parties would contest on the basis of 
a common manifesto and with a full accord on the division of 
seats. 97 Whatever the outcome, the widespread entry of such 
Congressmen into Swatantra is not likely, unless Swatantra makes 
a strong, national showing. 

Throughout all of this, we must remember the tendency of the 
Congress to shift according to what Kothari has called pressure at 
the 'margin'. 98 Given its dominant position, Congress has had the 
capacity to undercut opposition forces by modifying policies, by 
opening ranks to significant segments of the opposition, and by 
less ennobling techniques. 99 Swatantra, along with other opposi- 
tion parties, will have to face this problem; and at least for the 
moment Swatantra should hope for little more than a few defectors 
and some marginal help (as in Rajya Sabha elections), as well as 
some co-operation with rump Congresses. 


Electoral Adjustments 


Swatantra has endeavoured to achieve greater unity at the legis- 
lative level also, and in the Lok Sabha and in some states, these 
efforts have met with modest success. It was noted earlier that 
Swatantra once tried to enlist the support of leading independents, 
especially Aney and Prakash Vir Shastri, in a move to strengthen its 
own legislative group and to consolidate the opposition. Particularly 
since 1962, the party has sought to forge something of a united 
front at the legislative level, in terms of a * minimum programme' 
or on an ad hoc basis. The problem is most important in the Lok 
Sabha and in Rajasthan, because in Bihar, Orissa, and Gujarat, 
the Jan Sangh and other potentially close allies have been incon- 
sequential. In UP and elsewhere, Swatantra is a very junior 
partner to the Sangh or another party. 

Efforts at legislative unity have been affected by such con- 
siderations as the relative size of delegations, the quality of legis- 
lative performance and leadership, and the nature of the extra- 
parliamentary situation prevailing in the respective parties. From 
1959 to 1962, Masani and Ranga sat in the Lok Sabha and led a 
small group of MPs who had joined the Swatantra party. The 
Swatantra performance was good, mainly due to Masani and 
Ranga, but the group they led was small and the viability of the 
new party uncertain. Hence, there was little opportunity to rally 
other parties to the Swatantra cause, even on a very modest basis. 
When Masani and Ranga failed to return to the Lok Sabha in 1962, 
the position of 'acting leader' was bestowed on Kalahandi, a 
generally modest, hard-working, but rather unimpressive leader. 
Under his leadership, the Swatantra Lok Sabha group, com- 
prised heavily of newcomers who were reluctant to participate or of 
members disposed to maintain a high rate of absenteeism, was less 
impressive than the far smaller group of 1959-62. Yet Kalahandi's 
leadership had its redeeming features, too. Party meetings were 
held regularly, and Kalahandi personally maintained quite good 
relations with the members of the group, being neither oppressive, 
nor arrogant, nor short-tempered, etc. Kalahandi also tried to 
encourage wider participation by members of the group, in part 
because he was not personally disposed to sustain the burden of 
debate on behalf of his party. 

It was during this period, according to one report, that Kala- 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

handi recommended that Aney be approached with a request that 
he join the Swatantra group and assume leadership of the group. 
That this effort had proceeded rather far is indicated by Swatantra 
Party files, in which it is noted that Aney had agreed to join and 
that, because of his seniority and experience, he would be designated 
leader of the group. 100 

It also appears that Aney and Shastri were approached for a 
more general reason, viz. to increase the likelihood of a joint 
Swatantra-Jan Sangh parliamentary group. On paper, at least, 
either of these men would have been congenial to the Sangh, itself 
deprived of certain of its best legislative spokesmen. Aney and 
Shastri insisted, however, that commitments be secured from 
other independents, before they would commit themselves; and 
this was not done. On the other hand, according to one report, 
Masani was far from enamoured of Shastri and his followers, 
largely of the militant Hindu variety, vehemently pro-Hindi, 
virulently anti-Pakistan. 101 These and other factors combined to 
preclude the recruitment of Aney and Shastri, and in this fashion 
helped to keep Swatantra and the Jan Sangh from drawing closer 

After the entry of Ranga in 1963 and of Masani in 1964, Swa- 
tantra was certainly much better led in the Lok Sabha. Dandekar's 
even later entry provided yet another very able spokesman. Masani 
and Dandekar, in particular, have been effective critics of the 
economic policies of the government of the day. 

This larger, better led Swatantra group might have been expected 
to command greater respect and attention from the other opposi- 
tion parties, and in many ways it did. However, the presence of 
Ranga and Masani involved liabilities as well, even for the Swatan- 
tra group itself. Ranga's arrival led to the demotion of Kalahandi 
to the position of deputy leader, which the latter took entirely in 
stride. In the re-organization of the legislative group, however, 
Mahida, who had been secretary under Kalahandi and who had 
got on well with the latter, also found himself demoted, and he did 
not take this in his stride. Mahida, in fact, wanted even greater 
recognition in the group and had apparently been satisfied that 
this was possible under Kalahandi's rather mild leadership, but 
not under Ranga's. Upset at his demotion, he insisted on a regular 
election to avoid what he considered the humiliation of a personal 
rejection by Ranga; and he said he would even leave the party, if 


Electoral Adjustments 

he was so unwanted by the party high command. Although this 
was not the only reason, Mahida did in fact resign from the party 
and rejoined the Congress. 102 

Another consequence of the entry of Ranga, Masani, and Dan- 
dekar, and of the somewhat improved position of C. L. N. Reddy, 
a friend of Ranga, was the dilution of the heavily Rajput image of 
the Swatantra group in the Lok Sabha. Under Kalahandi, all 
office bearers in the Lok Sabha group were Rajputs, save for Reddy, 
who was chief whip. All were nominated and approved by the party's 
parliamentary board, and it was understood, at least by the board, 
that this arrangement was subject to immediate alteration, upon 
the entry of Ranga and/or Masani. After Ranga's entry, the pre- 
ponderance of the office bearers were still Rajputs, but Ranga and 
Reddy worked closely together, party meetings were less frequent; 
Ranga, Masani, and Dandekar assumed the principal roles in 
parliamentary debates; and the relative importance of the Rajputs 
declined as a consequence. Save in Mahida' s case, there is no 
indication that the Rajputs chafe at this development; but it is a 
possibility that cannot be overlooked in trying to gauge the 
condition of the Swatantra Lok Sabha group, which remains heavily 
Rajput. 103 

The post-Ranga situation as regards other parties also has its 
negative side, from Swatantra's standpoint. None of the Swatantra 
leaders in the Lok Sabha is a Mookerjee, even though some may try 
to be. In part, this would appear to be a function of the fact that 
neither Ranga, nor Masani, nor Dandekar articulates views which 
find much resonance in the great Hindi heartland of north central 
India. In part, however, it is a function of personality and style. 
Ranga remains flamboyant and impassioned, occasionally to the 
point of hysteria, in his public performances; and this appears to 
mar his image as a legislative leader. Certainly Ranga is less steady, 
less quietly yet strongly persuasive, and less modest than effective 
performance of this difficult task would require. Masani, for all of 
his efforts in this direction, has no appreciable chance of galvanizing 
the opposition forces either. He is too westernized and pro- 
western, too quick and imperious, and too little inclined to 
suffer those he considers fools to rally Jan Sanguis, conservative 
rural Hindus, and the other groups that would have to be mobilized. 
If Rajaji were twenty or thirty years younger and were sitting in the 
Lok Sabha 3 he could do a better job, but there is no one like him at 

16 241 ESP 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

present available. Swatantra's self-estimate in relation to the Jan 
Sangh points up this problem. There is considerable anxiety on 
the part of certain leaders that the Sangh, with its more militant 
posture and more experienced parliamentary group, would come to 
dominate Swatantra's larger, but less experienced and often less 
diligent contingent. Some co-operative efforts have been made, 
however, in large measure through Swatantra's persistence. 

Swatantra has not troubled itself excessively with such negligible 
groups as the Mahasabha and the RRP. 104 At one point, the Maha- 
sabha reportedly pressed for very close ties with Swatantra, at 
least in Parliament; but Masani rejected the overtures because of 
the anti-Muslim and anti-Christian approach of the Mahasabha 
and because of what he considered its policy of appeasement in 
relations with Communist countries. 105 Not much energy has been 
expended on the RRP, although, as noted, the RRP member from 
Rajasthan has joined the Swatantra parliamentary group. 

The Jan Sangh is a different matter, because of its far greater 
strength.There is some evidence, as we have seen, that some lead- 
ing Swatantrites are wary of the de facto communalism of the 
Sangh and that this was one reason for avoiding close electoral 
alliances. 106 In so far as Swatantra has kept the Sangh at arm's 
length, however, it has been for more practical reasons : rather than 
fear of contamination, it is fear of domination. To state the matter 
simply, as Masani once did, 'the Jan Sangh tail might start 
wagging the Swatantra dog'. 107 This was much more serious when 
Kalahandi was acting leader of the Lok Sabha group, but there is 
still considerable reluctance to formalize a close relationship with 
the Sangh in the Lok Sabha. 

In Rajasthan, the situation resembles that which prevailed in the 
Lok Sabha prior to the entry of Ranga, Masani, and Dandekar. 
Dungarpur, like Kalahandi, is a quiet, dignified speaker, but he 
and his colleagues are consistently outperformed by the Jan Sangh 
— and almost single-handedly by Bhairon Singh. Many Swatantra 
MLAs are disconsolate and demoralized, and the party's MLAs 
often take their cues from the Sangh rather than from their own 
ineffectual leadership. 108 Here again the ' feudal ' style of Swatantra 
politics in Rajasthan virtually precludes a substantial change in 
the situation, although there are some MLAs who have the capacity 
to improve the party's effort. Thus far, Swatantra has been unable 
to make its numerical superiority 'pay off' in terms of clear leader- 


Electoral Adjustments 

ship of the opposition, and the younger, better organized, and more 
aggressive Sangh shows no sign of subordinating itself to Swatantra 
in the near future. 

That Swatantra has not thrown itself into the Sangh's arms, 
despite much admiration for the latter' s dynamism and organiza- 
tion, is worth pondering a moment. A variety of factors underlies 
this reluctance, but one of them certainly is the unwillingness of 
most leading Swatantrites to bend to the Sangh's fanaticism on 
the official language and the Kashmir /Pakistan questions or to 
yield to its de facto communalism. A victory-at-any-cost mentality 
has not yet emerged in sufficient breadth and depth in Swatantra 
to cause it to yield on such matters; and from this we may derive 
some very cautious optimism about the strength of the party's 
commitment to moderation, if not to a well-rounded liberalism. 

Confronting all of these difficulties, Rajaji, Kripalani, and other 
opposition leaders have attempted to define a minimum programme 
on which diverse opposition parties could come together, as a first 
step to fuller co-operation. Rajaji, for example, suggested that the 
creation of a non-partisan board to grant permits and licences — 
not a very inspiring issue — could serve as such a rallying point, 
while Kripalani has been more ambitious. 109 A renewed Chinese 
Communist challenge would certainly bring the groups closer to- 
gether, and Swatantra has tried to weld a legislative front regarding 
the government's China policy specifically and its policy of non- 
alinement more generally. Serious troubles with Pakistan would 
not be nearly as effective a cement, and the Sangh could easily take 
the initiative in such a case, because of Swatantra's moderate and 
conciliatory stands in this area. None the less, proposals such as 
those made by Rajaji and Kripalani, electoral co-operation as in 
north Bombay against Krishna Menon and as in the crucial 1963 
by-elections, and co-operation in the 1963 no-confidence motion, 
bespeak an awareness of the need to work toward greater unity. 
That these efforts continue is proof that certain party leaders feel 
the compulsions of the contemporary political situation. That they 
have not borne much fruit is proof of the very substantial barriers 
to the creation of a more stable, unified party system, even on the 
state level. 

In its dealing with other opposition parties, Swatantra has been 
cautiously co-operative. As in the matter of its own internal 
composition and organization, it is caught between the desire to 

243 16-2 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

maximize anti-Congress, anti-Communist strength and the desire 
to maintain a respectable party. Certain caveats aside, most Swa- 
tantra leaders are willing to associate with virtually any party, if it 
will help to weaken the Congress. Thus far, this co-operative 
spirit has been limited primarily to 'reciprocal courtesy' and has 
not included more than marginal Swatantra support for such 
parties as the Jan Sangh. Again as in the case of its own composi- 
tion, however, Swatantra tends toward an obsessive determination 
to challenge the Congress effectively, and this pushes it to a 
victory-at-any-cost position towards the right-wing opposition. 
Masani's rejection of Mahasabha overtures and the worries about 
close association with the Sangh must be viewed cautiously. If the 
Mahasabha should merge with the Sangh, would Swatantra 
assume that the former had been purified and had become a more 
acceptable ally thereby? If Swatantra and the Sangh should be able 
to form a coalition in Rajasthan, how far would Swatantra yield to 
the Sangh to bring this about? If difficulties with Pakistan should 
be intensified, how far would Swatantra yield to the Sangh's 
intransigence toward Pakistan, if only to keep from being out- 
flanked by the Sangh's more militant posture? The early Congress 
1 Moderates ' withdrew to form the Liberal Party rather than yield 
widely to the more militant, populist elements which had risen in 
the nationalist movement. Would many Swatantrites do something 
comparable, if anti-Congress efforts led to closer contact with a 
Jan Sangh that retained approximately its present tendencies? Put 
most simply, the question is: can Swatantra hope to oust the 
Congress without unholy alliances, if not marriages of convenience, 
and can it hope to exist as a respectable party if it feels that it 
must cultivate them? Even though Swatantra has not thus far 
succumbed to the Sangh, there is room for pessimism here. 




Short as its life has been and uncertain as its future may be, 
Swatantra deserves close study by students of the political process. 
Its efforts at building and sustaining an effective coalition and its 
relationships with other parties etch sharply the problem of 
interest aggregation in the Indian context. Its efforts in the direc- 
tion of secularism, its emphasis on matters of political economy, its 
attempt to reconcile the aristocracy to modern political institutions 
and processes, and so on, bear on the question of political develop- 
ment, as it is understood by Silvert and others. 1 More traditional 
approaches, such as Emerson's study of the evolution of nationalist 
movements 2 or Duverger's study of political parties, are also 
enriched by an examination of Swatantra. 

On the Indian side more specifically, the divergent perspectives 
within Swatantra and the way in which they interact provide a 
major case study of what Morris- Jones has termed India's 
'political idioms'. 3 So, too, the discussion of the relationships 
between Swatantra and the Congress Party ties in with Kothari's 
analysis of the Congress 'system'. Here, however, a detailed 
examination of the Congress response to Swatantra lay beyond the 
bounds of the study; and this would have to be available to do 
justice to Kothari's argument. 4 

The summary which follows is not written with any one of the 
above approaches in mind, but it, like the arguments on which it is 
based, bears upon many. Two main themes have, however, been 
stressed in the preceding analyses and will be stressed here: 
(i) Swatantra's capacity to perform the function of interest aggrega- 
tion on any basis , and (2) the qualitative aspects of its performance, 
most specifically in terms of conservatism and liberalism. 


The task of interest aggregation in India has always been difficult, 
because of social heterogeneity and fragmentation. Weber made 
much of this point, and such contemporary writers as Harrison 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

and Shils have underscored one or more of Weber's points. 5 Much 
of the argument here pointed in the same direction. 

None the less, history affords examples of effective political 
groupings which have been wrought out of disparate materials, and 
the Congress itself is one such case. Certainly the Indian historical 
evidence must not be read so as to preclude further developments 
along these lines. Indeed, a number of recent studies have shown 
that under the prevailing conditions of competitive party politics 
in India, much social fragmentation is being overcome, at least to 
the extent that broader caste federations are replacing narrowly 
parochial castes, in the interests of greater electoral effective- 
ness. 6 

Opposition parties in India not only confronted obstacles im- 
posed by social heterogeneity. In addition, the very heterogeneity 
of the Congress, the importance of the Congress name and 
organization, and the party's hegemony and flexibility have com- 
bined to inhibit a substantial, more 'rational' alinement of political 
forces among either rightists or leftists. Kothari rightly stresses 
this point, but fails to set his argument against the backdrop (i) of 
the general problems of interest aggregation in India and (2) of the 
way in which the Congress surmounted this problem. Moreover, 
the rightist parties confronted distinctive obstacles, which Kothari 
again does not properly stress. 7 These would include, for example, 
aristocratic reluctance to join parties (at least if the aristocrats 
themselves did not control them); Nehru's savage attacks on the 
right wing particularly; and the prevalence of socialist rhetoric, 
which helped to suppress explicitly rightist positions. Under such 
circumstances, the creation of a cohesive, explicitly rightist, 
national party has been an extremely difficult task. 

How has Swatantra fared against this backdrop? Swatantra, with 
its distinguished (if generally superannuated) leadership, with one 
general issue on which it tried to capitalize, with some prospect 
of financial support, and with an approach to party-building which 
Morris-Jones has rightly termed 'certainly the most flexible and 
realistically power-oriented' of the rightist parties, 8 was able to 
rally a wide array of parties, groups, interests, and individuals 
(many of them erstwhile enemies) to an extent that surpassed earlier 
efforts by Mookerjee and others. Largely through the residual 
appeal of the aristocrats, but also through the entry of such groups 
as the Gujarat kshatrya mahasabha, Swatantra was able to achieve 


Swatantra: Achievements, Problems, Prospects 

some semblance of mass support. While it was unable to forge a 
massive, anti-Congress front, it managed to work out many local 
adjustments with other opposition parties, reflecting the compul- 
sions of the electoral system and the need to co-ordinate opposition 
efforts in order to transform the Congress System'. In one stride, 
it moved well up on the list of Indian parties, and to have become 
the leading opposition in four states and eventually in the Lok 
Sabha was a major accomplishment. For reasons given in chapter 6, 
this has to be judged a significant but obviously not an irreversible 
step in the political development of India on the party level. 

Against this must be weighed the following facts. Swatantra was 
non-existent in many states ; it was very weak in India's ' advanced ' 
cities; and it was overwhelmingly dependent on the aristocracy for 
its electoral support. The truly stupendous majorities secured by 
Gayatri Devi and Devgadh-Baria, among others, and the heavily 
Rajput Lok Sabha contingent on the one hand, and, on the other 
hand, the difficulties of Masani, Dandekar, et al, in getting elected 
at all, point up some of the problems here. 

For this reason, even Swatantra' s strong showing in four states 
must be viewed cautiously, because questions of viability and 
effectiveness are also involved, as the Ramgarh affair (among other 
less cataclysmic events) makes clear. All things considered, 
Gujarat, of the major Swatantra strongholds, must be adjudged the 
most satisfactory from the party's standpoint, because of a more 
socially diverse, better organized, and generally better-led party— 
though even this unit is not free of the problems already noted. It 
is for reasons such as these that some Swatantra leaders were quite 
pleased with the poorer electoral performance in Mysore and 
Andhra and that the size alone of a legislative contingent is not 
necessarily a source of satisfaction or a sign of strength. 

Given the limitations of the Swatantra coalition, its internal 
strains, and its vulnerability to virtual decimation if a few aristo- 
crats become slothful or defect, Swatantra's performance, good as 
it was, cannot be taken to presage the coming amalgamation of all 
forces to the right of the 'Nehruites' or a decisive confrontation 
with the Congress in the near future. The party's achievements 
do not, for that matter, even guarantee an overall reduction in the 
number of political parties in India. Apart from Swatantra's own 
internal problems, a major reason for this questioning of the party's 
'staying power' is the nature of the Congress 'system'. Swatantra, 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

as we have seen, is in many respects a holding company for local 
dissident groups which were brought together for a variety of 
reasons, one of which was the feeling that some degree of unity had 
to be achieved to provide an effective opposition to the Congress in 
New Delhi. (To say that many who joined Swatantra were not 
animated by such considerations is true enough but misses a major 
point: Swatantra would not have come into existence had it not 
been for the fact that many of its founding fathers were animated 
by precisely these considerations.) A weakening of the position of 
New Delhi vis-a-vis the states and/or a more ' pragmatic ' Congress 
could markedly undermine Swatantra's position and could frustrate 
its efforts — in part by eliminating the need — to build a viable, 
national opposition. Judicious use of carrots and sticks, conciliatory 
gestures toward offended interests — characteristics of the Congress 
4 system ' — could well take much of the wind out of Swatantra's 

Even sizeable defections from the Congress are not likely to 
redound to Swatantra's advantage, partly because of the dissi- 
dents' desire to retain the Congress name in some form (which 
was, however, also true of the INDC and the Bihar Jan Congress at 
the outset), but also because of Swatantra's position and vulner- 
ability. Only if Swatantra seems strong and viable in a few states at 
least, if Rajaji or another leader of stature (not presently on the 
horizon) is at the helm, and if there is a strong national focus in 
Indian political life would Swatantra seem to stand much chance of 
benefiting markedly from the emergence of rump Congresses. A 
broader Congress right- Swatantra merger— not an unhappy out- 
come for many Swatantrites in any event — would mean a more 
rational alinement of political forces but it would probably mean 
the virtual demise of Swatantra as an independent political force, 
even though not everyone in Swatantra could be accommodated by 
such a coalition or reconciled to its formation. Had Nehru lived 
longer, sustained gradual pressure on the right-wing elements, 
driven out small groups of dissidents, while resisting counter- 
pressures from the 'margin', Swatantra's future would have been 
more promising than it now seems. Here, the party's future be- 
comes bound up with major questions of national leadership in 
India, of centre-state relations, and so on, which cannot be 
examined here. But if Harrison (among others) is correct about 
pressures toward devolution of leadership and political power, 9 and 


Swatantra: Achievements, Problems, Prospects 

if the Congress becomes more conservative in its social and 
economic engineering, then a large part of Swatantra's raison 
d'etre will evaporate. 

swatantra's qualitative performance 

Given this generally pessimistic assessment of Swatantra's capacity 
to survive and to thrive in the Indian environment, it may seem 
superfluous to consider its qualitative performance. However, even 
if Swatantra is inevitably relegated to the 'margin', this question 
is still worth considering. Constitutional-democratic politics are 
still far from securely rooted in the new nations, and exponents of 
liberal doctrines are few and far between. Assuming that these are 
desirable, any significant political force which takes a decisive 
stand in favour of such institutions, processes, and values and 
which acts to strengthen them would be serving a useful function. 
Even a party on the 'margin' can help or hinder here. How does 
Swatantra fare on this score? 

In some respects, Swatantra fares very well, indeed. The party 
has certainly made strenuous exertions to caution India about 
totalitarianism of the left, the forestalling of which Swatantra has 
set as its main task. But to be opposed to totalitarianism of the left 
is not necessarily to be constitutional-democratic, let alone liberal. 
Does the party have anything else to offer? 

At its best, Swatantra has a good deal more to offer, with respect 
to constitutionalism. In striving to develop a strong alternative to 
the Congress, Swatantra has set before the Indian public the 
familiar rationale for a competitive two-party system. 10 In its 
effort to instutionalize the opposition of the aristocrats, as part of 
this party-building process, it has tried to reconcile this important 
social group to the institutions and processes of constitutional- 
democratic politics. The fact that the party strives for a national 
opposition which transcends the parochial pulls of Indian society 
is also important, if the maintenance of a national system of politics 
is a desideratum. 

Also on the credit side of the ledger is Swatantra's attitude to- 
ward constitutional-democratic procedures. By and large, the party 
has eschewed walk-outs and disruptive tactics in legislatures, 
threats of satyagraha and of fasting unto death, and of chauvinistic 
demagoguery as legitimate political techniques. It has, for the most 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

part, stressed the parliamentary arena and strictly constitutionalist 
procedures; and even where its leadership has been inept (as 
in the Rajasthan assembly), its legislative behaviour has been digni- 
fied. In terms of its manifest political behaviour, Swatantra is not 
a party of constitution wreckers, and we may hope that Swatantrites 
will heed Rajaji's injunction that no matter how dim the party's 
prospects may be, it would not be desirable to 'turn our thoughts 
from peace and democracy to force and revolution'. 11 

Still further evidence is available on the question of Swatantra 
and constitutionalism. The party's 'public advice committee', its 
Punjab inquiry commission, and its detailed attention to many 
constitutional questions, 12 have all underscored precise political 
and constitutional issues in a significant fashion. Needless to say, 
the relationship between the Planning Commission and the Cabinet 
and Parliament has also received sustained attention. The party's 
outspoken criticism of the economic and foreign policies of the 
government has certainly contributed to the sometimes halting 
and one-sided political dialogue in India. On many of these 
questions, the party has published useful analyses, however limited 
the audience for these might be. 13 Given the assumption that con- 
stitutional-democratic procedures and values are important and 
that sound policy will emerge from a confrontation of alternatives, 
Swatantra deserves ample credit in these respects. 

It is necessary, however, to take note of some lapses from grace. 
There is within the party leadership a strong strain of anti- 
democratic elitism (aristocratic, administrative and professional) 
and frequent criticism of universal suffrage. There have been 
some threats of satyagraha, there have been some walk-outs, 
etc. There are certainly some Swatantrites, including some 
who are highly placed, who would not mourn the passing 
of constitutional democracy, provided the 'right' people assumed 

Thus far, these summary remarks have been confined to issues 
of constitutional-democratic politics and of alternative policies 
within that framework, where, generally, Swatantra fares well. In 
confronting its substantitive policy recommendations and Swatan- 
tra's place in the political spectrum from that vantage point, we 
face certain difficulties. For one thing, one's judgment here 
depends in large measure on the perception of the dialectical 
nature of competitive party politics. If we concede the Swatantra 


Swatantra: Achievements, Problems, Prospects 

contention that the Congress and other major parties have swung 
far to the left (or else do not appreciate the threat from the left), 
then we will be less critical if we find that Swatantra lies much to 
the right, because a balance may be struck in the interaction of the 
contending forces. Similarly, if we concede the argument that 
statism is the greatest enemy to personal freedom and that its 
triumph is approaching in India, then we will be less critical if we 
find that Swatantra tends toward a victory-at-any-cost approach 
towards the Congress. 

A second major difficulty relates to the divergent perspectives 
within Swatantra itself, the balance among which is by no means 
firmly settled. 14 There is the related problem of ideological shifts 
on the part of individuals and groups, as they participate in the 
political process. An accurate assessment of Swatantra' s qualitative 
performance depends on a reasonably precise understanding of 
these ambiguities. 

The simplest matters to dispose of concern formal party doctrine 
and the question of secularism. For all its lacunae and ambiguities, 
formal party doctrine is predominantly liberal in tone; and even 
after due allowances are made for non-believers, for lapses from 
grace, and for the consequences of Morris-Jones' diverse 
* idioms', 15 this, too, ought not be lightly dismissed. A major 
Indian political party is publicly committed to such a doctrine, 
which is poles apart from the views of the RRP, Hindu Mahasabha, 
and the Jan Sangh. Related to this is the fact that at the highest 
levels, at least, Swatantra has set forth a moderate, secular, 
nationalist approach to public life, to which people of diverse 
religions have been willing to subscribe and with which most feel 
comfortable. It is incontestable that of all political parties which 
may with any justice be placed to the right of the political spectrum, 
Swatantra is the most secular, and this, too, ought not be lightly 
dismissed. 16 

Other factors are relevant, however, in defining the position of 
the party, and among these are the social backgrounds and the 
perspectives of those who comprise the party. Rajaji, by all odds 
Swatantra's stellar attraction, looks upon the party as a conserva- 
tive one and he has explicitly referred to it as a party of the right. 
So did Menon, and most of the aristocrats would concur. Some 
have been quite outspoken in their view that Swatantra should 
appeal to aristocrats, non-aristocratic landed classes, businessmen, 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

and other groups of 'haves', because the party will protect these 
vested interests. To this extent, the problem of denning what 
Swatantra stands for is answered by some Swatantra leaders in 
emphatic language: for privilege and for conservatism in one or 
another entirely recognizable form. Rajaji was even willing to call 
his party the 'Conservative Party 5 , but he was apparently con- 
vinced that this would be a distinct political liability. 17 

We have also seen that within Swatantra there are people of a 
more liberal temper and that both explicitly and implicitly they 
pose a challenge to the more conservative elements in the party. 
Certainly a liberal party in the classical European sense would also 
generate ' dislocation, disturbance, and distress ' of the type that 
Rajaji opposes. This is obvious from Rajaji's assessment of western 
individualism, social reform movements based thereon, and 
industrialization; and Rajaji is, in this sense, conservative not only 
towards the statists but also to the liberals. In short, Swatantra 
contains both conservative and liberal elements, albeit in unequal 
measure; and in many respects it contains in microcosm the classic 
battle between these two perspectives. 

A central problem, therefore, is the way in which the balance has 
been struck between these points of view, and we must see this 
without being seduced by those who insist that such distinctions 
as we have been making are utterly meaningless. That the analytical 
waters have been amply muddied is immediately obvious. At one 
point prior to the creation of Swatantra, it was argued that ' every 
day that passes makes the need for a conservative party in this 
country to check the tide of statism increasingly urgent'. The 
argument continued by saying that 'a conservative party in the 
context of Indian politics is not a party of reaction' — which may 
be accepted without qualm— but to say, then, that 'it will be a 
progressive liberal party, which will have its roots in basic demo- 
cratic principles and in the cherished traditions of the country' 
simply does not follow. 18 Admitting that it is difficult to use parts 
of the political vocabulary with precision, we still cannot permit this 
statement to pass unchallenged. It is one thing to say that 
conservatives and liberals can join hands in opposing statism, but 
it is quite another thing — and quite incorrect — to argue that they 
are identical. 

Masani has done little to clarify the picture. On one occasion he 


Swatantra: Achievements, Problems, Prospects 

I do not much care what label such a party adopts. Rajaji would like to 
call it a conservative party. Being myself a liberal and one of the Patrons 
of the Liberal International, I would prefer another title. But whether 
it is called a Democratic Party, People's Party, or Centre Party, it is not 
important. What is important is that it should present a clear demo- 
cratic alternative to the policies of the ruling party, so that the people 
of India may be given an opportunity to exercise an effective choice. In 
my view, the new party should be what may be broadly called a middle- 
of-the-road party or centre party which would eschew dogma and 
extreme of any kind. 19 

This characterization would obviously permit both liberals and 
conservatives to join hands against the statists, but it still does not 
settle the question of the interaction between them. 

Elsewhere, too, Masani has been of little help, as he has sought 
to free Swatantra from the label of * rightist', even though Rajaji 
does not seem to mind this characterization: 

While large sections of the press both in India and abroad have de- 
scribed the Swatantra Party as a 'Rightist' party, coupling it in this 
respect with the Jan Sangh, every serious student of political science 
knows that the terms 'Left' and 'Right' have lost all meaning in recent 
decades. There can be nothing more reactionary than the Communist 
ideology, with its belief in totalitarian control . . . and yet it is labelled 
'Leftist' along with the democratic socialist elements. There can be 
nothing more progressive and radical than the philosophy of the Swa- 
tantra Party with its stress on individual liberty, the dignity of the 
human personality and the assertion of the Fundamental Rights in the 
Constitution, and yet it is often described as 'Rightist!' 20 

This is a variant on the theme of who is a true socialist, as is evident 
from the remark that Nehru was 'a pre-Revolution Marxist; we 
are post-Revolution Marxists \ 21 In the second extended quotation, 
Masani stresses the individualistic, progressive aspects of Swatan- 
tra, but by contrast to the statists, not to the conservatives. 

The problem is not only one of contending groups within Swa- 
tantra, but it is also one which is visible within a single individual, 
as we have seen in the case of Rajaji himself. He is fundamentally 
a Burkean conservative, of that there can be no doubt. Yet recently, 
Rajaji has come to talk more in terms of liberal individualism than 
in terms of conservatism, without clearly facing the implicit con- 
tradictions himself; and he has explicitly rejected any * back-to-the- 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

village' programme. Some Swatantrites, confronted by the 
massive challenge of socialism and by the massive verbal challenge 
to the old order, have, indeed, shifted toward more liberal posi- 
tions, as Rajaji has done. 22 Over wide areas, however, no real 
fusion of the two perspectives is evident, and the conflict between 
conservative and liberal elements remains, even though it is 
often suppressed. There are some indications, however, that the 
pressure of the competitive situation is, in fact, moving Swatantra 
generally away from conservative positions. 

If we approach this problem in terms of the party which has been 
built so far — its elites, composition, formal doctrine, the pattern of 
electoral support and of electoral understandings — the prospects 
of a well-rounded liberal position, as distinct from a constitution- 
alist or technologically progressive role, are not good. The liberal 
element is, in the first place, numerically small, even within the 
elites, and there is an obvious weakening of liberal commitment as 
one moves down the party hierarchy. This is to be expected in 
terms of Morris- Jones' arguments about India's political idioms. 
Secondly, there is the problem of reaching the electorate in terms 
of broadly based, liberal programmes. Thirdly, there is the 
related problem of the extreme dependence on aristocrats who 
are (i) not fully reconciled in many cases to modern, demo- 
cratic politics, (2) quite conservative on the whole, and (3) not 
disposed to put their residual, traditional appeal at the disposal of 
the more liberal elements in the party. Even when aristocratic 
commitment to modern industry is taken into account, when 
occasional cases of Tory democracy are acknowledged, and when 
Masani's efforts to assert the position of the more modern, 
liberal elements are noted, the general situation is still quite 
depressing from the standpoint of Swatantra's modern men — not 
all of whom are, in any event, liberals. Moreover, the Masani- 
led effort runs afoul of much non-aristocratic conservatism and 
parochialism as well. It will be only with the greatest difficulty 
that Swatantra's more modern and liberal men will make 
appreciable headway. 

The obstacles confronting Swatantra in this respect are clear 
enough. With limited time and resources, coupled with a feeling 
among many that it is 'now or never', Swatantra sought aid and 
comfort wherever it could be found. Many less than edifying local 
notables were welcomed into the fold and these proved to be 


Swatantra: Achievements, Problems, Prospects 

largely responsible for the party's electoral successes. Given 
Swatantra's estimate of the present political scene, it is inconceiv- 
able that the party would consider a major ' purge ' in order to put 
its organization on a more modern and liberal footing. Local 
notables have the appeal, and Swatantra, by and large, had to take 
whatever it got, and it is likely to continue to do so. 

Masani, as usual, has been able to specify the central issues, 
even if he has not been able to implement pertinent policies. At one 
juncture he told his party that 'we should be careful not to depend 
on dubious elements. Our enthusiasm and eagerness to see the 
Party grow should not lead us to welcome people into our fold 
without due discrimination'. 23 In addition, in surveying the 
'lessons' of the general elections of 1962, Masani insisted that £ the 
moral is simple ' : 

The Swatantra Party has to build its own structure on a sound and more 
broad-based social basis. It has, in particular, to devote specific attention 
to massive sections of the people, like Harijans, Adivasis, small farmers, 
industrial and agricultural labour, shopkeepers, youth and women. 
Specific attention to the needs of these classes of our people, many of 
whom are under-privileged in social and economic terms, is called for. 
For a Party which has put the needs of the Common Man in the fore- 
front of its programme and Manifesto, such a task is a moral and 
political imperative. 24 

These are unexceptionable positions, action upon which seems 
unlikely, if, by it, Masani means to circumvent the local notables 
upon whom Swatantra has been so dependent. In the absence of a 
conversion of the aristocracy, such circumvention is essential if 
Swatantra is to become the spokesman for the middle class, let 
alone for the 'common man'. This, however, would involve 
virtually the total reconstruction of the party precisely in those 
areas where it has made some of its most impressive showings. 
Even such verbally gifted people as Masani or Rajaji could not 
convince a sensible person that the party in Bihar or Rajasthan was 
a party of the common man, and Rajaji admitted as much in the 
case of Ramgarh. Masani may have soothed some personal guilt 
feelings but should have confused no one when he said that ' our 
inability to reach large sections of the electorate also meant that the 
Big Lie about the Swatantra Party being a party of maharajas and 
capitalists remained unanswered in so far as large numbers of 


The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

voters were concerned'. 25 Until the pattern of electoral support 
and the composition, or at least the outlook of most of the northern 
cadres, change rather markedly, the question will remain largely 
unanswered — and, in so far as it is answered partially, it will not be 
to Swatantra's advantage. 

If Swatantra's reliance on the aristocracy raises some doubts 
about the party's liberal future, its relations with other opposition 
groups raise still more. Masani again provided a useful approach 
to the problem when he said that while Swatantra £ is a National 
Democratic Party of all elements and communities in India' which 
* could not agree' with the Jan Sangh, Hindu Mahasabha, DMK, 
and AkaliDal /insofar as they are sectarian parties ', most, if not all 
non-Communist opposition parties were, in his view, acceptable 
electoral allies : * That is the choice of evils we have to make. The 
total evil is the communist evil, whether it is in the Communist 
Party or whether it has infiltrated the Congress.' 26 Thus, the 
Swatantra perception of the Indian situation as well as objective 
aspects of that situation (such as the multiplicity of parties, 
Swatantra's poor finances, etc.) leads it toward positions, both in 
terms of its own membership and organization and in terms of its 
electoral and legislative understandings and alliances, which 
seriously prejudice its chances for liberal respectability. Swatantra 
will have a most difficult time, in the prevailing Indian context, 
without considerable reliance on * dubious elements' both inside 
and outside the party ranks. The fault is not entirely due to a uni- 
form lack of will in Swatantra; but wherever the fault lies, the 
party faces a steep ascent, if it is to establish itself not only as a 
constitutional-democratic party but as a modernizing, liberal one 
as well. 27 

At this point in time, then, it would seem fair to characterize 
Swatantra as a predominantly conservative party which embraces, 
in particular, aristocratic conservatism, non-aristocratic landed 
conservatism, and the conservatism of the idealized village. Its 
modernizing potential would seem to be greatest in the political 
realm, i.e. through its willingness to function through contemporary 
national political institutions and organized parties, with the 
economic sector ranking next in this respect, as a result of the 
presence of some urban, industrial interests, plus some techno- 
logically progressive aristocrats. Weakest of all thus far is an open, 
aggressive commitment to social modernization, which is, of 


Swatantra: Achievements, Problems, Prospects 

course, intimately related to the question of liberalism. A more 
modern and in some cases more liberal element is certainly 
present, and it has tried to assert its position through its involve- 
ment in formal doctrinal matters and through judicious use of the 
rupee; but thus far it has tended to exist toward the 'margin 5 of a 
party itself at the 'margin' of the Congress system. 

These considerations are, of course, related to certain of our 
introductory remarks about conservatism. Huntington and others 
have noted the two-directional battle of the French middle classes, 
and many have noted the retreat of the liberals in nineteenth- 
century Germany, in the face of a rising socialist challenge. The 
problems inherent in this 'middling' position are abundantly 
evident in the Swatantra case. 28 To a modest degree, liberal ideas 
are being articulated against the ancien regime elements in Swa- 
tantra, but for the most part, as we have seen over and over again, 
the threat from the left is considered to be so serious that this 
critique is muted to the point of inaudibility. It is for such reasons 
that analysts who easily characterize Swatantra as a nineteenth- 
century liberal party (largely due to misplaced emphasis on formal 
ideology) miss a key point. The fact is that twentieth-century India 
is not eighteenth- or nineteenth-century Europe, and even the 
liberals in Swatantra are not liberals in the classical European 
sense. The Swatantra liberals have consistently emphasized the 
statist threat and have understated or completely ignored the 
weight of tradition and the dangers which lie to the right; and, 
in so far as they continue to do so, they will represent at best a 
very truncated form of liberalism. Masani would do well to consider 
the nineteenth-century German case, as part of his world-historical 


The future of Swatantra as the principal vehicle for either Indian 
conservatism or for Indian liberalism (or some combination of the 
two) would not seem promising. This does not mean that the 
Indian right is in eclipse or that it is inconsequential in the Indian 
political system. The bases of Indian rightism are ample, but the 
major components have been disorganized and somewhat beneath 
the surface of overtly conservative party political life. 

The poor electoral performance of the explicitly rightist parties 
prior to Swatantra' s arrival justifies only modest conclusions. It 

17 257 ESP 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

indicates only that the most venturesome exponents of various 
right-wing positions have thus far been devoid of substantial mass 
appeal as independent forces. It says little about the (latent) 
strength of such views within the Congress itself, particularly 
about moderate conservatism, as opposed to the views of the RRP, 
Hindu Mahasabha, or the Jan Sangh. Swatantra, for reasons 
suggested by Kothari's analysis, as we have amended it here, may 
well suffer serious setbacks and recede in importance, particularly 
if Congress hegemony is sustained and if the ruling party responds 
to pressure at the 'margin'. 

A most obvious fact is that there is more to Indian rightism than 
meets the eye — at least the eye which scans only electoral data and 
official party propaganda. In the future, there should be ample 
scope for both moderate and militant rightism (if not for aristo- 
cratic conservatism or for RRP-style obscurantism), although it is 
impossible to specify what the balance will be. 29 What may safely 
be said is that the social forces which have supported various 
rightist positions will continue to work through diverse channels, 
some of which will surely be more explicitly rightist now that 
Nehru has passed from the scene. Whether Swatantra and the 
Jan Sangh merge, or whether Swatantra and the Congress right 
merge, or whether some other pattern evolves (e.g. one based on a 
drastic disintegration of national politics), the underlying social 
forces, and their interaction, must receive greater attention than 
has thus far been the case, if Indian political development is to be 
properly understood. 

It is most likely that India's rightist forces will remain reason- 
ably disorganized and will seem somewhat less strong and less 
explicitly rightist than they in fact are. These are virtually inescap- 
able aspects of rightist activity in India today and are likely to 
remain so for some time. The prevailing disorder may seem to be a 
luxury that the right can ill-afford, but we must remember that there 
are substantial conflicts within the rightist camp on major issues. 
There is certainly no compelling reason for all rightist forces to 
unite, and there is certainly little likelihood that they will do so in 
the absence of a sustained and serious attack from the left. In this 
writer's view, the latter has thus far not been forthcoming and is 
not likely in the near future, Swatantra charges of statism and 
incipient totalitarianism notwithstanding. There is also consider- 
able historical evidence to suggest that even in the face of a 


Swatantra: Achievements, Problems, Prospects 

serious challenge the rightist groups would not heed the maxim, 
* we had best hang together, else we shall hang separately', but, in 
so far as this situation persists today, Swatantra cannot be blamed 
for it. 

The pattern of Indian public life in the mid-1960s suggests that 
Congress reformism is unlikely to 'get that huge country moving' 
widely and swiftly. Persistent problems, domestic and foreign, 
could generate a sense of frustration and already seem to have 
generated a more cautious approach on the part of the Congress, 
as the suggestions for a plan ' holiday ' and/or more modest develop- 
ment programmes testify. If this should be the case, and if the 
failures of earlier policy be traced to Nehru and his 'western' 
ideas, then a renaissance of more 'Indian' ideas could come 
increasingly to permeate public life. Such a renaissance along 
militant Hindu lines would probably be disastrous in terms of 
communal relations (i.e. Hindu v. Muslim), although it would 
hold out the hope for industrial and some social advance, 
within the framework of a strong, more centralized nation- 
state. A re-emphasis along the lines of the idealized village would 
doubtless be disastrous on almost all counts, although many 
Indians could announce their revolutionary intent and could 
console themselves with the thought that they were being true 
to Gandhi. 

In this context, a Swatantra Party which aggressively propagated 
a liberal and moderate nationalist line, maintaining a firm com- 
mitment to industrialization and to national political institutions, 
could perform a valuable function in Indian public life. And there 
are some modestly hopeful signs. The present evidence suggests, 
however, that Swatantra will not be equal to the task of a two-front 
war, critical of rightist dangers to freedom as well as of the leftist 
threat. Again, we must emphasize that this is not due entirely to a 
uniform lack of will. Broadly liberal classes simply do not exist in 
India, and the impact of colonialism and of world-wide Marxism 
have probably thrown India into a situation in which classical 
liberalism is not likely to flourish. Even if we agree with Swatantra 
that the principal threat flows from totalitarianism of the left, we 
must yet insist (with Brecher, for one) 30 that the Indian right poses 
serious problems as well. Here many western observers join hands 
in irresponsibility with all too many Swatantrites : by steadfastly 
ignoring the substantial, if often latent or untapped or disorganized 

259 17-2 

The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism 

reservoirs of right-wing strength in India, or by blithely assuring 
us that anti-statism is equivalent to liberalism or that a conservative 
party in India is not really conservative, but liberal, they avoid 
coming to grips with one of the fundamental problems of Indian 
public life. But neither in intellectual nor in practical terms will 
the many problems posed by the Indian right be solved by denying 
that they exist. 








The months prior to the 1967 elections were ones of intense excite- 
ment and interest. The new and improved ministry of Indira 
Gandhi was increasingly viewed as representing a deterioration of 
national political power (both in governmental and party terms) in 
India. Famine conditions, inflation, a host of strikes, riots, and 
fasts, seemed to many to symbolize not only the deterioration of 
incumbent political leadership but also of the Indian nation and 
its democratic system. Stern warnings from home and abroad 
were heard that Indian democracy was in danger. 1 

Opposition parties, looking to the first election in which Nehru 
was not at the helm of the Congress, sensed the opportunity for 
marked gains; many of them, after carefully stocking the pond, 
proceeded to fish in the inviting waters. Of the rightist parties, 
Swatantra and Jan Sangh talked enthusiastically of controlling 
some states (individually or in coalition) and of substantially re- 
ducing the Congress majority at the Centre. The right-wing ele- 
ments within the Congress itself also felt that the tide was running 
in their favour. 

There was some basis for right-wing optimism. All the mis- 
fortunes which had befallen India could be laid at the door of the 
ruling party in one way or another; and, where they were well 
organized, the right-wing elements could hope to capitalize on the 
discontent. The Jan Sangh in particular responded eagerly to the 
bifurcation of the Punjab and to the demand — accompanied by 
assorted fasts of dubious integrity — for a ban on cow-slaughter. A 
host of essentially local issues were also assiduously exploited by the 
opposition parties. 2 

Especially important in the context of this book was the upsurge 
in overt, anti-Congress activity on the part of the aristocracy and 
the business communities. Much of the previously latent right- 
wing sentiment was swiftly and energetically coming to the surface. 3 
With the prospect of more potent candidates (i.e. aristocrats) and 
better finance, the right-wing opposition saw better days ahead. 

Related to this, but complicating the political picture for the 
right-wing opposition was the emergence of a spate of rump Con- 


Appendix I 

gresses, under assorted designations. 4 On the one hand, the emer- 
gence of such groups, some of which were rightist, suggested 
further fragmentation of the anti-Congress vote. Hence, there was 
much wailing in many opposition quarters. On the other hand, 
certain elements had come out of the Congress, 5 and if electoral 
adjustments and agreements on the formation of coalition mini- 
stries could be worked out with them, this development could 
work to the advantage of the opposition collectively, although it 
might frustrate the ambitions and aspirations of an individual 
party. The opportunities and problems here led to strenuous efforts 
by opposition parties to minimize undesirable fragmentation of 
the vote, by achieving at least state- wide electoral agreements. 6 

More specifically, the Swatantra Party confronted the elections 
with a combination of anxiety and hope, in varying proportions 
over time and space. Deprived of the large group of Bihar legis- 
lators who followed Ramgarh on his seemingly endless political 
meanderings, Swatantra's numerical strength and territorial im- 
pact were reduced. 7 Although there were some important entrants 
into the party (mostly outside of the legislative arenas), notably in 
Gujarat, these did not compensate for the quantitative loss in 

Organizationally, too, Swatantra had cause for concern. Masani 
detailed numerous deficiencies in his report to the 1966 convention 
in Delhi, and they boiled down to the fact that, in too many cases, 
Swatantra had no organization and no cadres worthy of the name, 
even in states where it had considerable legislative strength. In 
Gujarat, already organizationally better than most states in which 
Swatantra had some strength, the situation was encouraging. 
There, H. M. Patel, a retired ICS officer, sought to develop and 
to regularize the party's organization; and in this effort he was 
aided by some prominent ex-Congressmen who brought with them 
an appreciation of good grass-roots organization and of sustained 
contact with the electorate. On the other hand, there was little 
sign of progress in Rajasthan, where an ex-IAS officer took the post 
of state General- Secretary; and in Orissa, Swatantra influence 
continued to be confined almost entirely to the princely influenced 
highlands, where the erstwhile Ganatantra Parishad had held sway. 

Illustrative of one of the central problems discussed in this book 
was the charge made by Swatantrites in coastal Orissa that the 
aristocratic leadership was intentionally neglecting organizational 


Appendix I 

matters, so that power would remain firmly in aristocratic hands. 
Even Gujarat was not immune to this problem. In fact, it became 
worse as the election approached, because a number of aristocrats 
came into the party (or stood as S watantra-supported independents) 
and started to assert themselves in a more vigorous fashion than 
was true of earlier years in Gujarat. Even with K. M. Patel's 
efforts, the Gujarat unit came to display some of the character- 
istics of aristocrat-influenced units in other northern states. (Also 
notable on the Gujarat scene was the not-unrelated struggle be- 
tween kshatryas and Patidars. 8 ) In both Orissa and Gujarat, 
there were open rebellions against local aristocratic leadership ; and in 
some cases these dissident Swatantrites openly fought the official 
nominees of the party. 9 But here, as elsewhere, the party's depen- 
dence on aristocratic support made it most difficult to achieve a 
modus vivendi. 10 

Swatantra had some basis for hope, too. Many of the business- 
men and aristocrats who came out openly against the Congress 
turned to the Swatantra party. Swatantra benefited primarily in 
Gujarat and Rajasthan, and, to a far lesser extent, in UP. For 
example, the Saurashtra region of Gujarat, which gave negligible 
support to Swatantra in 1962, looked quite promising as the 1967 
elections approached, in large part because of aristocratic support; 
and the entry of a number of prominent Birla men bolstered Swa- 
tantra hopes in Rajasthan. In terms of finance, Swatantra was 
certainly in a much better position than in 1962, although, as ex- 
pected, its aspirations outran its resources and there was great 
reliance on self-financing candidates again. 11 

Relations with other opposition parties also produced mixed re- 
actions. The emergence of the rump Congresses was bemoaned by 
Masani, among others, who were upset over the entry of yet more 
aspirants in the political arena. Yet in Orissa, after much pulling 
and hauling, Swatantra and the Mahtab-led Jana Congress worked 
out an agreement quite favourable to Swatantra; and there was 
some co-operation between the Congress dissidents in Rajasthan 
and the Swatantra unit in that state. 12 In both of these cases, there 
was considerable optimism that Swatantra-led governments might 
be formed with the help of such dissident elements. 

On the whole, relations with other opposition parties were more 
orderly prior to the 1967 elections than they were in 1962. Swa- 
antra and the Jan Sangh reached a reasonably firm accord in Raja- 


Appendix I 

sthan, where Swatantra's superior position was recognized. In 
return for Jan Sangh support for Masani in Rajkot, the Gujarat 
unit was obliged to concede far more to the Sangh than the 
latter 's strength would have warranted; and while it required 
persistent effort, relations remained tolerably good. 13 In Madras, 
Swatantra acknowledged its weakness and joined as a minor, but 
effective partner in a broad, anti-Congress front dominated by the 
DMK. Elsewhere, informal or formal understandings were reached 
with a wide range of parties, including, in some cases, the two 
wings of the Communist Party. 14 In some cases (as in Madras), 
this resulted in a quantitatively reduced but qualitatively better 
effort on the part of the Swatantra Party. 

In the matter of electoral understandings and, more broadly, in 
confronting the electorate, Swatantra leaders frankly admit that 
they often yielded to the pressure of necessity, defined in terms of 
how best to defeat the Congress. As before, the propaganda which 
emanated from the central office remained overwhelmingly orien- 
ted toward economic problems and was scrupulously secular; and 
party leaders tried to project Swatantra's image as a responsible, 
constitutional-democratic party. Still, it was only after a frequently 
bitter debate that the national party refrained from including a 
demand for a ban on cow-slaughter in its election manifesto; and 
many state units and individual candidates were side by side with 
the Jan Sangh in exploiting the cow-slaughter issue. 15 Masani and 
other secular leaders were dismayed at this, and even Rajaji decried 
the fact that cow-slaughter seemed to dominate the political scene 
for so long, but they all admitted that necessity led down other 
paths. The boycott of the Andhra legislature over a steel-plant 
location issue, the electoral understandings with the Communists, 
and other actions were similarly tolerated. 16 

In the immediate pre-election period, the scoring of electoral 
successes was obviously uppermost in the minds of the party 
leaders; but many of the underlying problems analysed in the main 
part of this book were obviously not far below the surface. Organiza- 
tional and ideological deficiencies were clearly recognized in many 
quarters, and, for example, many national and state leaders were 
frankly apprehensive at the prospect of Swatantra(-led) mini- 
stries in Gujarat and Rajasthan. 17 The highly educated and ex- 
tremely able group of candidates put up for the Lok Sabha pro- 
vided some consolation at that level of politics, but the situation 


Appendix I 

at the state level left many Swatantra leaders very much depressed. 
It was still not clear that the more modern elements (in both 
organizational and ideological terms) could satisfactorily assert 
themselves, either within the Swatantra Party itself or within the 
broader political context. 

In this connection, it is important to note that the central office 
of the party again made its primary effort in elections to the Lok 
Sabha. 18 Here, the most notable development was the support 
rendered to more modern Swatantrites by the aristocrats, particu- 
larly in Gujarat and Rajasthan. 19 Whether this support stemmed 
more from indifference to sitting in the Lok Sabha (as opposed to 
the state assemblies) or other factors is not yet clear. It is even less 
clear that such support will be forthcoming in the future. But 
whatever the cause and whatever the future of such co-operation 
between aristocratic and industrial elements, there can be no doubt 
that Swatantra' s modern men benefited greatly in the 1967 elec- 
tions for the Lok Sabha. 20 

In general, the results of the 1967 elections represent a sub- 
stantial, although not irreversible step forward for the Swatantra 
Party. As against eighteen Lok Sabha members elected on the 
Party symbol in 1962 (or twenty- two, if the Ganatantra Parishad 
be added), Swatantra secured forty-four seats in 1967 (and it must 
be remembered that of the eighteen seats in 1962, seven were lost 
in Bihar upon Ramgarh's defection). There was a marked improve- 
ment in its more established strongholds— Gujarat, Orissa and 
Rajasthan — and there were gains also in Mysore, Madras, and 
Andhra. 21 In Gujarat, Orissa, and Madras, Swatantra gained more 
Lok Sabha seats than the Congress, while in Rajasthan, Mysore 
and Andhra it occupied second place (although in Andhra it was 
a very, very poor second). Only in Bihar and UP did it lose 
strength in the Lok Sabha. 22 

In the state legislatures, Swatantra also improved its position 
(although here, by contrast with the Lok Sabha, it lost second 
place to the Jan Sangh in terms of total seats). It was the largest 
single party in Orissa, and it appeared destined to form a reason- 
ably stable coalition ministry with the Jana Congress. It moved 
into a very strong opposition position in Gujarat, and it improved 
its position in Rajasthan as well; and in the latter, there was a 
possibility of a broad coalition ministry, including Swatantra, Jan 
Sangh, SSP, and independents. Its strength increased in Madras, 


Appendix I 

Andhra, and Mysore, while Bihar and UP recorded losses of seats 
(although Swatantra's performance in the latter was not much 
inferior to its 1962 performance). 23 

What does the pattern of support suggest about Swatantra's 
viability and future prospects? First, in some important cases, 
Swatantra's Lok Sabha performance was relatively better than its 
Vidhan Sabha performance. This would seem to be due partly to 
the centre's emphasis on Lok Sabha seats and to the extremely 
well-financed campaigns mounted in key Lok Sabha constituen- 
cies. In addition, this pattern of support suggests that Swatantra's 
local roots and organization in many areas still leave much to be 
desired. Secondly, taking 1962 and 1967 results together, Swa- 
tantra has established itself quite firmly in Gujarat, on a reasonably 
broad and stable social basis. Its strength in Rajasthan and Orissa — 
which, in 1967, fell below expectations — still owes too much to 
the influence of a few key aristocrats and remains vulnerable to 
defections. 24 Of the remaining states, Mysore is the most promising 
from the Swatantra standpoint, as neither prestigious local notables, 
nor lavishly financed campaigns, nor firm electoral alliances played 
a significant part in Swatantra successes. 25 By contrast, the sub- 
stantial gains in Madras are due much more to the carefully 
engineered, DMK-led united front (in the building of which 
Rajaji played a major part, however) than to any great strength of 
Swatantra per se. 2G 

The 1967 elections thus broaden Swatantra's areas of significant 
representation to include the southern states. A combination of 
south Indian MPs and the large number of industrialist MPs from 
the north substantially modify the social composition of the Lok 
Sabha group, which had been heavily Rajput after the 1962 elec- 
tions. (The debts owed by some industrialists to Rajput aristo- 
crats must not be forgotten, however.) The Swatantra Party in the 
Lok Sabha will be a formidable group, and the dominance of that 
group by industrial and professional elements will lead to a more 
well-defined modern image and to a great emphasis on economic 
matters, where Swatantra's principal spokesmen may be counted 
upon for a superlative performance. This means, however, that the 
Lok Sabha group (deprived, at least for the moment, of Ranga's 
presence) 27 lacks a strong, middle- class, rural component; and the 
party will have to struggle even harder than before to persuade 
people that it is primarily a rural peoples' party. (The peasant com- 


Appendix I 

ponent is more in evidence at the state level, particularly in Gujarat, 
and, to a lesser extent, in the south.) 

On balance, the 1967 elections indicate somewhat greater vi- 
ability for Swatantra and an improvement in the position of the 
more modern component of the party, particularly in the Lok 
Sabha. The failure of certain aristocrats to retain their own seats, 
and the poorer-than-expected performance in Rajasthan, Orissa, 
and UP, may also persuade party leaders that this source of support 
has reached its maximum and that future improvements will re- 
quire conscious effort to overcome the organizational and social 
limitations of the aristocracy. 28 

It would still be premature to predict a healthy future for 
Swatantra, but its future looks brighter than it did in 1962. Much 
still depends on relations with the Congress right and with other 
opposition parties, particularly the Jan Sangh, which made striking 
gains in the north and which has intensified its efforts (largely 
unrewarded in 1967) in non-Hindi speaking areas. 29 The role of 
the rump Congresses will also be important here. It is also pre- 
mature to announce the ascendancy of the modernists in the 
Swatantra Party, although here, too, the prospects seem to have 
improved somewhat. 

Given a relatively stable political environment, Swatantra may 
be expected to perform responsibly and well at the national level 
and in most states. But it will face some stern tests, with respect to 
its secular, constitutional-democratic commitments. The Rajasthan 
unit behaved very poorly during the post-election, ministry- 
forming crisis in that state; and the argument that Swatantra 
irresponsibility was forced upon the party to avoid being out- 
flanked by the Jan Sangh is scarcely an encouraging sign. 30 Rather 
it raises the question : what else will Swatantra be willing to do to 
avoid being surpassed by the Sangh? 

There are other major questions as well. How will Swatantra re- 
spond to the leftist(-dominated) ministries which have been, or are 
likely to be formed in some states? How will Swatantra respond to 
delicate law-and-order situations, particularly where demonstra- 
tions, etc., may be organized by leftist elements? Will its Lok 
Sabha spokesmen (and its assembly spokesmen, too) support those 
measures which not only protect the rich, the wise, and the well- 
born, but which strengthen, educate, and lift up those who are not? 
More broadly, will Swatantra be able to curb the elitist, anti- 


Appendix I 

democratic elements in its ranks, in the event of signs of political 

The next few years are likely to be decisive in terms of the 
course which India will take. As before, a technologically pro- 
gressive, secular, and constitutionalist party has much to recom- 
mend it; and Swatantra has made some significant strides along 
these lines. It will face the stern tests of the next years as a stronger, 
more broadly based party than it was after the 1962 elections. We 
have raised some of the major questions, for which time alone can 
provide the answers; but, judging from the general conditions pre- 
vailing in India, some answers, at least, should not be too long in 




Note. Tables i-iv are reproduced from Morris-Jones' Government and 
Politics of India, pp. 163-6. Tables v and VI are based on the official 
election returns of 1962 and give a more detailed, state-by-state picture 
of Swatantra's performance. The following abbreviations are used in 
Morris-Jones' tables: 

Tables 1 and 11 










Tables 111 and iv 






Communist Party of India 

Praja Socialist Party. 

Socialist Party (Narayan) 

Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party (Kripalani). 

Socialist Party (Lohia) 

Jan Sangh 

Hindu Mahasabha 

Republican Party of India 

Ram Rajya Parishad 

Dravida Munnetra Kazagham 
Ganatantra Parishad 
Muslim League 
Peasants' and Workers' Party 
Peoples' Democratic Front 

Tables v-vm use the same abbreviations as those for Tables 1 and 11 
with the addition of: 

CON Congress 
SWA Swatantra Party 


Appendix II 

Table I. All India parties — Lok Sahlia 


■ Seats 




Votes per 








































































Other parties 







































psp! sp 


































Other parties 







































pspI sp 

1 M \KMP 










































Other parties 






















Appendix II 
Table II. All-India parties — State assemblies 






Votes per 






























psp! sp 
1 M \kmp 









































Other parties 










































































Other parties 
































psp/ sp 
1 5i Ikmp 










































Other parties 















Appendix II 

Table III. One-state parties — Lok Sabha 






Votes per 



gained seats 





DMK (Madras) 







Akali Dal (Punjab) 







GP (Orissa) 







ML (Kerala) 







Jharkhand (Bihar) 







Forward Bloc 







(W. Bengal) 

PWP (Maharashtra) 







Janta (Bihar) 







PDF (Andhra) 







DMK (Madras) 







Akali Dal (Punjab) 






GP (Orissa) 







ML (Kerala) 







Jharkhand (Bihar) 







Forward Bloc 







(W. Bengal) 

PWP (Maharashtra) 







Janta (Bihar) 







PDF (Andhra) 







DMK (Madras) 







Akali Dal (Punjab) 







GP (Orissa) 







ML (Kerala) 







Jharkhand (Bihar) 







Forward Bloc 







(W. Bengal) 

PWP (Maharashtra) 







Janta (Bihar) 







PDF (Andhra) 








Table IV. One-state parties — state assembly 






Votes per 









DMK (Madras) 







Akali Dal (Punjab) 








GP (Orissa) 








ML (Kerala) 







Jharkhand (Bihar) 








Forward Bloc 







(W. Bengal) 



PWP (Maharashtra) 








Janta (Bihar) 







PDF (Andhra) 









DMK (Madras) 







Akali Dal (Punjab) 







GP (Orissa) 







ML (Kerala) 







Jharkhand (Bihar) 








Forward Bloc 







(W. Bengal) 



PWP (Maharashtra) 








Janta (Bihar) 







PDF (Andhra) 








DMK (Madras) 







Akali Dal (Punjab) 








GP (Orissa) 







ML (Kerala) 








Jharkhand (Bihar) 







Forward Bloc 







(W. Bengal) 



PWP (Maharashtra) 








Janta (Bihar) 







PDF (Andhra) 








Appendix II 

Table V. 1962 elections, seats according to parties, Lok Sabha 

N.B. The three figures in each entry are in order, the number of candidates sponsored by the 
party who (i) contested, (ii) were elected, and (iii) forfeited their security deposits. 

States and 

No. of 









Andhra Pradesh 




























1 4-4- 1 












Madhya Pradesh 




































1 -0-0 




















Uttar Pradesh 








West Bengal 
















Himachal Pradesh 







1 -0-0 























196-14-114 68-3-35 



States and 

No. of 












Andhra Pradesh 





















n-3-3 a 









3-i-i b 







3-2-o c 



Madhya Pradesh 






i-o-o d 







1 8-7- 1 e 








io-o-i f 









3-i-i g 







io-4-o h 








7-3-I 1 











Uttar Pradesh 








West Bengal 






4-2-o d 










Himachal Pradesh 
































a Jharkhand. b Nutan Mahagujarat Janata Parishad. ° Muslim League. d Forward 

Bloc. e DMK. f PWP. s L k Sevak Sangh. b Ganatantra Parishad. Akali Dal. 


N mo mo , ", m, , 

O I l^O ^ N \ <p \ i> I 
in I An An r> it- ' c*i ' m ' ' 

I I 


i i5iJissusi in 1 1 




| | ? " | <» | ? | | | « r» 

1 ■ n n ' m ' n ' ' ' O <-< 

NO O ' «0 O 

0>0 f» W O* "T tJ- 








00 I oo wk 

O I M M 

1 1 

■+ Thoo r^ Th o oo ooMNmoS 

rorJ-OCO O rt-O | M N V^OO JT I | 
Nm bf^OtN ' in b l> m pj ^t - I I 


I I 

•O ■*■ N M 00 w 

PP M I M P °o 
o Tt- b I * m vb 

M o o m I>00 M IO00 OjN 

Idbiobbbbt^w ^t-cb in h 

iSl I 

o P p 

H t^O 

so o twni 

i 0> rooO •>*■ M t^ ^h 

o O'tHin^Nnoi 

N I 00 i-i 

3 ™ 


•^ cd 


q s.-s ? « 

fl «> B-s> e« rt ££ CCftr" 









• <-* 

<u tfl 

fe ° 



a >> 

CO £ 

=9 .Si 

4) 0) 

>, 1) 

3 o 


H -5 

6 6 oot^o 

CO co coso o o 

1 00 I M 




I l>m I ■*• M 

' i ifit i • 

Mm I O O 

I I t^ I •* 

o Tt-r^m m 

i SO 00 0>(*1N m 

H i in , i int M 

* i N i I CO , O O 

lO i h i O ' N 

O i O i O i i-i i 

O m " W M ft HX 


l l in ' 

N sO l O 


w o 


N COO Tj- 

N M 


+ aMN 


r- oco m | 

•*■ coco ■+ mo -<j-o 
O O w m co oo o 


N SO CO O lO ' l I 

iii i i r^m co 

(MO m I^irirj-Tj-p-) 

O O inO . 
co co w co 

W H N W I 

K W O 
T T ""> 

oo t> 

tj- in o m co 
in r^ n in oo 

i-i M tJ- n N 

■>+■ inoo ■* . ino *i-0 , tJ- in o w N 
00«incoooo in r> co in ^*- 

N m r, m I NNNN 1 h b + pj 00 

2 8 « 

c -a ox 

« c s S 


h MM 

l> t^ "? moo o 

i> o ■* o co n o co 


►h7n°? I iV ion I t« n m 
moo Mj>l co in >-< N ' l-1 N co 

moo m t-» 

Nr^r^i-i rt-t^ r^ as 

o r>o co r^ o co r~» 


fO o o o 

I ?i n i 

1 1 



I I 

I J U 

co o 
- <* 
to o 

I I S 1*1. J I 

O O w 

sO N 1 

•isO I 1 00 

I I N O I 

O O ' • so 

1 1 co m r> 

M J>f^ N H 

I ? 2 

n ' "J-vO I 

I I N O 

in tJ- co 1 

n |^ in 

00 t^ W OS 00 Tj- I 

•+ moo •<*■ 1 mo t)-sO 1 +mo 
oo«mooosoo m r^ co 

N m CO M I NNNN 1 MWTi- 

c g c 










S 4 

























i-»nOn >o+iflN r-oo moo N 

tj-co ^- p I "■> n t^ p i ►hoooo> p 

b coob n I r> ioo f» ' hb n b ^ 


I s>| ? 

I I 


I l 

I I r ? 

I I O O 


I Ot « h Onow io 

I I bb' n 1 «' i^x^a^ 

t}-vO O m 

now io 
o 6 h b b 

o m in b +b b 

m rooo O N 

M , vO moO N , »0 

* N+ pop M 


pthnhopON ^ T 1 T*" 7*" P 
M ONw \b b ion c> b>o b o 

bN^t-f- OH^^ 1 Omh^ b 

O . mm, nN^iflMHM> N 

r*)00 , NNO00 OOOO-O O 

?* ^ p^pt 1 w ?*■ p P 1 V 1 

*b b ft t^ifiN r^ in in rh CO 

m w in ■*}- + + NN N N nO>00 

Cj N rnOO I inwNN I t^O riN CO 

f^cb wb Idbowb I "biif- ^J- 

tj- tj- Tj- m n + tfim ■+ ■*■ m rf rh 

2 e jj « 

fc ^ c « c M 

£ « ^.5 1 S"T3'0^ en w Pea rt go r~ 




At various points in the notes, abbreviations have been used to refer to 
certain sources. In every case, the first reference is given in full and the 
abbreviation to be used subsequently has been noted. However, for the 
reader's convenience, the following list of frequently used abbreviations 
is provided. 

AS Asian Survey (monthly) 

HT Hindustan Times (daily) 

HWR Hindu Weekly Review (overseas edition) 

J AS Journal of Asian Studies (quarterly) 

OHT Overseas Hindustan Times (weekly) 

FA Pacific Affairs (quarterly) 

SN Swatantra Newsletter (more or less monthly) 

TI Times of India (daily) 

chapter i, pp. 1-9 

1 Gabriel Almond and James Coleman (eds.), The Politics of the Develop- 
ing Areas (Princeton, Princeton University Press, i960), Introduction. 

2 For example, K. M. Munshi, a Swatantra leader, suggested that the 
author entitle this work 'The Swatantra Party: India's Search for a 
Constitutional Opposition'. Some reasons for the present emphasis (which 
does not preclude attention to other issues) are found in Howard L. 
Erdman, 'Conservative Politics in India', Asian Survey (AS), vi, 6 
(June 1966), 338-47. 

3 Samuel P.Huntington, 'Conservatism as an Ideology', American 
Political Science Review (APSR), LI, 2 (June 1957), 459. 

4 See Karl Mannheim, ' Conservative Thought ', in his Essays on Soci- 
ology and Social Psychology, ed. Paul Kecskemeti (New York, Oxford 
University Press, 1953). See idem, Ideology and Utopia, trans, by Louis 
Wirth and Edward Shils (New York, Harvest Books, n.d.). 

5 Roberto Michels, ' Conservatism ', Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences 
(ESS) (New York, Macmillan, 1937), iv, 230. 

6 Carl. J. Friedrich, Constitutional Government and Democracy (revised 
ed. Boston, Ginn, 1950), pp. 425-6. 

7 Michael Oakeshott, ' On Being Conservative ', in his Rationalism and 
Politics (New York, Basic Books, 1962), pp. 183 and 168. 

8 ESS, iv, 230. 

9 See Ideology and Utopia. 

10 ESS, iv, 230. 

11 Rationalism and Politics, p. 168. 

12 Peter Viereck (ed.), Conservatism (Princeton, Van Norstrand, 1956), 
P- 15. 


Notes, pp. 1-9 

13 Ibid. p. 17. 

14 Constitutional Government, p. 425. 

15 Kalman Silvert, 'Some Psychocultural Factors in the Politics of 
Conflict and Conciliation', mimeo, read before the American Political 
Science Association, 8-1 1 Sept. 1965, p. 14. 

16 Barrington Moore, Jr., Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy 
(Boston, Beacon Press, 1966), and, for example, Maurice Dobb, Studies 
in the Development of Capitalism (New York, International Publishers, 

17 APSR, li, 466. 

18 Constitutional Government, p. 426. 

19 Conservatism, p. 15. 

20 APSR, li, 466. 

21 Conservatism, p. 12. 

22 ESS, iv, 230. 

23 See Eugen Weber's introduction to Hans Rogger and Eugen Weber 
(eds.), The European Right (Berkeley, University of California Press, 

24 See Max Weber, The Religion of India, trans, and ed. Hans Gerth 
and Don Martindale (Glencoe, Free Press, 1958), and idem, The City, 
trans. Don Martindale and Gertrud Neuwirth (New York, Collier, 1962), 
as well as Edward Shils, The Intellectual Between Tradition and Modernity: 
The Indian Case (The Hague, Mouton, 1961), for major examples. 
Reinhard Bendix, Max Weber: An Intellectual Portrait (Garden City, 
N.Y., Doubleday, i960), is also useful here. 

25 The term ' sanskritization ' refers to the process whereby a lower 
caste or segment thereof emulates the behaviour pattern of a superior 
caste, in order to improve its status, usually following an improvement in 
its economic position. The process is group-based, not individualistic; it 
often takes generations to come to fruition; it is accompanied by the 
strictest application of closure towards formerly equal and subordinate 
castes ; and it rarely, if ever, has been successful as a means of mobility 
for untouchables. For these reasons, the process is obviously a conserva- 
tive one. For a major statement on this subject, see M. N. Srinivas, 'A 
Note on Sanskritization and Westernization', in his Caste in Modern India 
and Other Essays (New York, Asia Publishing House, 1962), pp. 42-62. 

26 See Moore, Social Origins. 

27 The fact that many radical Indians look with favour upon the pro- 
foundly conservative rebellion of 1857 suggests the problem here. See, 
for example, P. C. Joshi, 'A Social Revolution', in Ainslie Embree (ed.), 
1857 in India (Boston, D.C., Heath, 1963), pp. 59~6i. 

CHAPTER 2, pp. IO-45 

i Lloyd I. Rudolph and Susanne Hoeber Rudolph, 'The Political Role 
of India's Caste Associations', Pacific Affairs (PA), xxxm, 1 (March 
i960), 5. 
2 Hugh Tinker, India and Pakistan (New York, Praeger, 1962), p. 121. 


Notes, pp. 10-45 

3 See Erdman, AS, VI, 338-47. 

4 From an unsigned article in Economic Weekly, Special Number, 
July 1959, P- 893. 

5 The Maharaja of Rewa, Indian Round Table Conference, First Session, 
12 Nov. 1930 to 19 Jan. 1931, Proceedings (London, HMSO, 1931), p. 57. 
Hereinafter, RTC, I. 

6 Nehru, for example, termed the princely states ' sinks of reaction and 
incompetence' and argued that the native rulers * stoutly declare their 
intention of maintaining medieval conditions . . . such as exist nowhere 
else in the world. . .The Indian States represent today probably the 
extremest type of autocracy existing in the world.' See, respectively, 
Reginald Coupland, Indian Politics, 19 36-1 942 (London, Oxford University 
Press, 1944)3 p. 1 74a and Nehru, Towards Freedom (Boston, Beacon 
Press, 1958), p. 320. See, in general, Michael Brecher, Nehru: A Political 
Biography (New York, Oxford University Press, 1959)3 ch. 9, 'Hero of the 
Left', and Nehru, India's Freedom (London, Allen and Unwin, 1962), 

7 Quoted in Coupland, Indian Politics, p. 93. 

8 The preceding summary is based on numerous books which cannot 
be cited individually here. Brecher, Nehru, at least touches on most of 
these points and dwells at length on some of them. Citations at certain 
junctures below will indicate some of the specific sources used. 

9 The preceding summary is again based on sources too numerous to 
cite fully here. For the princes, see V. P. Menon, The Story of the In- 
tegration of the Indian States (Bombay, Orient Longmans, 1961). For the 
landed aristocrats and land reform, see Govindlal D. Patel, The Indian 
Land Problem and Legislation (Bombay, N. M. Tripathi, 1954), and 
H. D. Malaviya, Land Reforms in India (New Delhi, All-India Congress 
Committee, 1954). For village affairs, see the village studies cited in the 
general bibliography, especially the titles by Bailey, Dube, Epstein, 
Isaacs, Retzlaff, and Srinivas. For the business communities, see Helen 
Lamb, 'The Indian Business Communities and the Evolution of an 
Industrial Class', PA, xxvm, 2 (June 1955) and her 'Business Organiza- 
tion and Leadership in India Today', in Richard L. Park and Irene 
Tinker (eds.), Leadership and Political Institutions in India (Princeton, 
Princeton University Press, 1959); Gokhale Institute of Politics and 
Economics, Notes on the Rise of the Business Communities in India (New 
York, Institute of Pacific Relations, 195 1); and Myron Weiner, Politics 
of Scarcity (Bombay, Asia Publishing House, 1962). Of a more general 
nature are Brecher, Nehru; Vera M. Dean, New Patterns of Democracy in 
India (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1959); H. Venkatasubbiah, 
The Indian Economy Since Independence (New York, Asia Publishing 
House, 1 961); and Taya Zinkin, India Changes! (New York, Oxford Uni- 
versity Press, 1959). 

10 Quoted in Khushwant Singh, The Fall of the Kingdom of the Punjab 
(Bombay, Orient Longmans, 1961), p. 1. 

11 A decent summary of these points is found in Menon, The Story. 
For 1857, see Embree (ed.), 1857 i> n India, and the bibliography therein. 


Notes, pp. 10-45 

The constitutional problems of the 1920s and 1930s, from the standpoint 
of the princes, may be examined through: K. M. Panikkar, Indian States 
and the Government of India (London., Martin Hopkinson, 1932), and his 
Indian Princes in Council (London, Oxford University Press, 1936); 
Ranbir Singh, The Indian States Under the Government of India Act, 1935 
(Bombay, Taraporevala, n.d.); Coupland, Indian Politics ; and RTC, I, 
and Indian Round Table Conference, Second Session, Proceedings (London, 
HMSO, 1932). The last title will be, hereinafter, RTC, II. 

12 See Patel, Indian Land Problem', Malaviya, Land Reforms', Venkata- 
subbiah, Indian Economy; Brecher, Nehru; Dean, New Patterns; A. R. 
Desai, Social Background of Indian Nationalism (3rd edn. Bombay, 
Popular Book Depot, 1959); and R. Palme Dutt, India Today (London, 
Gollanz, 1940). Restricted in scope but useful here is Paul R. Brass, 
'Regionalism, Nationalism, and Political Conflict in Utter Pradesh', 
mimeo, read before the Association of Asian Studies, 2-4 April 1965. 

13 This paragraph is based on a mimeo MS on politics in Rajasthan by 
Susanne H. Rudolph. Specific citations to Rudolph, MS, refer to this 
mimeo text. Lloyd I. and Susanne H. Rudolph, The Political in Social 
Change: Princes and Politicians in Rajasthan (forthcoming) contains all of 
the mimeo material cited in this book, although the pagination naturally 

14 See Erdman, AS, vi, 338-47. 

15 For Rajput-Jat conflicts, see, for example, Rudolph, MS. For 
Kamma-Reddy conflicts, see Selig Harrison, India: The Most Dangerous 
Decades (Princeton, Princeton University Press, i960), and Srinivas, 
Caste in Modern India. For fotorya-Patidar conflicts, see Myron Wein- 
er, chapter on Kaira, in Party Building in a New Nation: The Indian National 
Congress (forthcoming), and Rajni Kothari and Rushikesh Maru, ' Caste 
and Secularism in India', Journal of Asian Studies {J AS), xxv, 1 (Nov. 
1965), 33-50. The Weiner chapter will henceforth be referred to as 
Weiner, MS. 

16 See the articles by Lamb, cited in n. 9, above; Gokhale Institute 
Notes; and Weiner, Politics of Scarcity. See also Weber, The City; 
Reinhard Bendix, Max Weber; and the titles on economic history, the 
structure of Indian industry, and on specific topics such as the Bombay 
Plan, in the general bibliography. 

17 Briefly, this doctrine held that the rich, the wise, and the well-born 
should use their advantages for the good of society as a whole, on a 
voluntary basis. Other leaders who could appeal to the peasantry were 
often vehemently anti-capitalistic, as were the more socialistic elements 
in the Congress coalition. The discussion of N. G. Ranga in chapter 5, 
below, will illustrate this point. 

18 Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, a leading member of the Liberal Party, the 
lineal descendants of the early Congress 'Moderates', was anxious to 
bring the aristocracy into the developing political system, to serve as a 
stabilizing element, but this was a minor element in the Congress itself 
in these years. See Menon, The Story, pp. 27-8, and RTC, I and II, for 
some of Sapru's views. 


Notes, pp. 10-45 

19 For Rajasthan, see Rudolph, MS, and for Madras, see Rudolph and 
Rudolph, 'Political Role', PA, xxxiii, and Lloyd I. Rudolph, 'Urban 
Life and Populist Radicalism ', JAS 3 xx, 3 (May 1961), 283-97. Some of 
the disaffected elements entered the Swatantra Party and will be dis- 
cussed further below. 

20 See Coupland, Indian Politics, pp. 175-6 and 144. 

21 Quotations are from the White Paper on Indian States (New Delhi, 
Ministry of States, 1950), pp. 124, 63 and 30, respectively. Sir Kenneth 
Fitze, Twilight of the Maharajas (London, John Murray, 1956), p. 165, 
terms Patel 'a most able and forceful politician' to whose 'ruthless and 
resourceful hands ' the integration of the states was entrusted. For his 
efforts here, Patel has been called by some 'the Bismarck of India'. See 
also Menon, The Story. 

22 These matters are all discussed in the White Paper, and some are 
covered in Menon, The Story. The fact that distinctions between public 
and personal property were not clear allowed many rulers to retain vast 
landholdings and other forms of wealth. The fact that princely revenues 
were often not precisely known also meant that in calculating the privy 
purses (fixed at some percentage of previous revenues) there was some 
latitude for princely self-protection. Gandhi, who favoured voluntary 
abandonment of powers by the princes, in accordance with the trustee- 
ship notion, recommended at one time a maximum privy purse of 
Rs. 300,000, which is far below many which have actually been paid. See 
Gandhi, The Indian States Problem (Ahmedabad, Navajivan Press, 1941), 
p. 636 and passim, for his views, which were decidedly restrained. The 
office of Rajpramukh was equivalent to that of a governor in a former 
province of British India and was established in those areas where post- 
independence federal units largely coincided with one or a group of 
former princely states. The office was subsequently abolished, although it 
had been assured at least for the life of the incumbents. Some ex-rulers 
have, however, continued to serve as governors. 

23 Quoted in White Paper, p. 124. Menon, The Story, pp. 455 ff., argues 
that the price was small when the value of the states' public cash balances 
and public properties, which accrued to the Union, is calculated. Need- 
less to say, many people have cavilled at the amount paid. 

24 The fragmentary quote is from Zinkin, India Changes, p. 209. She 
observes that for many the purse was 'just sufficient to keep them from 

25 E.g. even such wealthy rulers as the Maharaja of Jaipur have con- 
verted palaces into luxury hotels, museums, etc. 

26 Percival Griffiths, Modern India (London, Ernest Benn, 1905), p. 105, 
argues thus, and some supporting evidence is found in Menon, The Story. 

27 Census of India, 19 51, 11, ' Uttar Pradesh ', Part ia, Report (Allahabad, 
Government of Uttar Pradesh, 1953), p. 246. Patel, Indian Land Problem, 
p. 246, supports this contention. Naturally the wealthier landed aristocrats 
were in the best position to do this. 

28 Quoted in Malaviya, Land Reforms, pp. 20-1. Concerning full com- 
pensation, Nehru said, ibid. p. 20, that this was ' on the face of it impossible, 


Notes, pp. 10-45 

as we cannot find the enormous amount of money for it'. The Congress 
election manifesto of 1946 stressed these points and declared for abolition 
with partial compensation. 

29 See Patel, Indian Land Problem , p. 373, where he notes that in Hyder- 
abad, jagirdars could retain up to 500 acres, acquired via evictions, if 
necessary. See also ibid. p. 395, where he questions whether such acts 
can be considered 'progressive'. Zinkin, India Changes, p. 212, claims that 
in Hyderabad, ' where the aristocracy is unusually oppressive, more than 
half the tenants have been evicted.' 

30 Patel, Indian Land Problem, p. 399. See also ibid. pp. 371 ff., 406 ff., 
434 ff., and Venkatasubbiah, Indian Economy, pp. 67 ff. 

31 This is based on a wide range of village studies, for which see the 
general bibliography. Socio-religious reforms elicited much opposition 
at the time of introduction, many were watered-down, and most remained 
a dead letter at the local level. None the less, efforts along these lines, par- 
ricularly efforts to improve the position of the most depressed groups, may 
well be expected to produce a stronger middle caste response, when and if 
they get off the ground to the extent that a large number of aggressive, 
self-conscious, and economically more secure untouchables come to 
challenge caste Hindu domination. Thus far, this has not been the case, 
save in limited areas ; but the caste Hindu response gives a pre-vision of 
things to come : it seems virtually certain that middle caste conservatism 
will become more explicit in the future. 

32 For the 'red herring', see Dean, New Patterns, p. 128. This FBI 
report was published in 1956. In general, see the titles by Baldwin, Crane, 
Deshmukh, and Spencer in the general bibliography. Many of these 
points are best examined through the annual reports of individual 
enterprises, many of which are available in the Times of India ( TI). It is also 
pertinent to note that businessmen have played key roles in government, 
as ministers, governors, members of development councils, of public 
financial institutions, and of public corporations. See Lamb, 'Business 
Organization. . . ', in Park and Tinker (eds.), Leadership, pp. 264-7. 

33 Rajni Kothari, 'The Congress "System" in India', AS, iv, 12 
(Dec. 1964), 1 161-73. 

34 See Menon, The Story, ch. 21, esp. pp. 410-15. The Manchester 
Guardian, quoted ibid. p. 413, observed that the government 'has struck 
back quickly. It is likely to have no more trouble from the princes. 
Nobody will risk his comfortable income'. As will be seen, this was a bit 
premature a judgment on princely politics. 

35 For examples, see TI, 24 June 1961, and the Hindu Weekly Review 
(HWR), 29 May and 28 Aug. 1961. Link from April through June 
1 96 1 contains numerous references to the carrot-and-stick policy vis-a-vis 
the princes. 

36 See Rudolph, MS, p. 192, for the first quote, and Zinkin, India 
Changes, p. 210, for the second. 

37 In one case, a would-be anti-Congress jagirdar was most reluctant 
to enter politics actively because the government still owed him Rs. 17-5 
lakhs (Rs. 1,750,000) in compensation as well as irrigated canal lands for 


Notes, pp. 10-45 

personal cultivation. This was publicly noted by the Maharani of Jaipur 
during the campaign preceding the 1962 elections; and the jagirdar, who 
joined Swatantra with the Maharani, expressed serious doubts that he 
would ever receive further compensation. From interviews and corres- 

38 That is, the many religious and caste divisions; reluctance, if not 
outright refusal to enter competitive politics, because it would be de- 
grading, etc., many aspects of which will be discussed below. 

39 The Maharaja of Bikaner, in the introduction to Panikkar, Princes in 
Council, p. v. 

40 Quoted in Dutt, India Today, p. 212. 

41 From RTC, II, pp. 152 and 211. 

42 From Dutt, India Today, p. 212, and RTC, II, p. 152, respectively. 

43 Quoted in Dutt, India Today, p. 212. 

44 See Fitze, Twilight, p. 163, where he notes their 'shining record of 
loyal and faithful services. . .to the Crown' and, in general, pp. 162 ff. 
See also Sir William Barton, The Princes of India (London, Nisbet, 1934)5 
and Sir George McMunn, The Indian States and Princes (London, 
Jarrolds, 1936), for strongly pro-princely views. For British gratitude for 
princely help in 1857, see Menon, The Story, p. 9; White Paper, p. 12; 
and Barton, Princes of India, p. 132. 

45 Ranbir Singh, Indian States, p. 19, and RTC, I, p. 59, respectively. 

46 R TC, I, p. 34 and Ranbir Singh, Indian States, pp. 19-20, respectively. 

47 RTC, II, p. 152. 

48 Ranbir Singh, Indian States, p. 21. 

49 See RTC, II, p. 211, and RTC, I, p. 78, respectively. 

50 See, for example, RTC, II, p. 152. 

51 For these fragments, see, respectively: RTC, I, p. 125; Barton, 
Princes of India, p. 47; McMunn, Indian States, p. 232; and Panikkar, 
Indian States, p. xvii. The last three are by the respective authors and are 
not quotations from aristocrats. 

52 RTC, II, p. 140. 

53 Barton, Princes of India, p. 75. 

54 McMunn, Indian States, p. 238. 

55 Barton, Princes of India, p. 293. Note here the class factors, discussed 
in the preceding section of this chapter. 

56 The Raja of Ramgarh, quoted in Harrison, Dangerous Decades, 
p. 312. The Raja will be discussed below, in his capacity as the founder- 
leader of the Janata Party and as a one-time Swatantra luminary. 

57 Quoted in G. Morris Carstairs, The Twice-Born (Bloomington, 
Ind., University of Indiana Press, 1958), pp. 58 and 176. 

58 Ibid. p. 58. 

59 See, respectively, Panikkar, Princes in Council, p. 13, and Menon, 
The Story, p. 57, the latter stating that 'an important ruler' made the 
assertion. For comparable statements, see Panikkar, Princes in Council, 
pp. 13 and 119. 

60 From an interview in India with a Swatantra Party aristocrat. 


Notes, pp. 10-45 

61 See, for example, RTC, I, pp. 124 ff. 

62 Quoted in Overseas Hindustan Times (OHT), 8 Feb. 1962. 

63 See 77, 8 Aug. 1961, p. 14. 

64 Carstairs, Twice-Born, pp. 24-5. 

65 Quoted in Philip Woodruff, The Men Who Ruled India, I, The Foun- 
ders (London, Jonathan Cape, 1953), p. 343. 

66 Of course, in areas where the aristocratic classes were dominant at 
the village level, this is certainly the case. 

67 W. Norman Brown, 'Class and Cultural Traditions in India', in 
Milton Singer (ed.), Traditional India: Structure and Change (Phila- 
delphia, American Folklore Society, 1959), p. 38. 

68 See the village studies in Park and Tinker (eds.), Leadership, and 
Srinivas, Caste in Modern India, passim. 

69 S. C. Dube, India's Changing Villages (London, Routledge and 
Kegan Paul, 1958), pp. 216 and 138-9, respectively. 

70 Ibid. pp. 138-9 

71 Zinkin, India Changes, pp. 138-40, for quotations and further 

72 From the party's paper, The Justice, quoted in J. H. Hutton, Caste in 
India (Bombay, Oxford University Press, 1961), p. 203. 

73 Harijans Today (New Delhi, Publications Division, Ministry of 
Information and Broadcasting (PDMIB), n.d.), pp. 45-6. 

74 Many of these points are developed at length in Howard L. Erdman, 
Ph.D. dissertation, 'The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism', 
Cambridge, Harvard University, 1964, ch. 3. 

75 See, for example, Adam B. Ulam, The Unfinished Revolution (New 
York, Random House, i960), for a splendid analysis of the response to 
the early stages of industrialization. 

76 See, in general, Gandhi, Economic and Industrial Life and Relations, 
ed. V. B. Kher (3 vols. Ahmedabad, Navajivan Press, 1959); Bharatan 
Kumarappa, Capitalism, Socialism or Villagism? (Madras, Shakti Karya- 
layam, 1946); K. M. Munshi, Reconstruction of Society Through Trustee- 
ship (Bombay, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, i960); Susanne H. Rudolph, 
' Consensus and Conflict in Indian Politics ', World Politics, xiii, 3 (April 
1961)5 385-99; and the writings of Vinobha Bhave, Jayaprakash Narayan, 
and Shriman Narayan (Agarwal). Parallels to these perspectives are 
widely found, as in Sukarno's rejection of western 'free-fight' democracy 
and his defence of the traditional village system of building consensus. 
See Paul Sigmund (ed.), The Ideologies of the Developing Nations (New 
York, Praeger, 1963), pp. 57 ff. 

77 In the case of the princes, Gandhi insisted on the application of the 
trusteeship principle, 'viz., the plan of princes voluntarily parting with 
power and becoming real trustees'. He acknowledged that 'very few 
people have faith in my plan' but insisted that he would advocate it 'as 
long as I believe in its practical possibility'. He admitted that he would 
'not ask for their coercion' if they 'will not listen'. See Gandhi, Indian 
States Problem, pp. 344 and 636. Nehru, Towards Freedom, p. 320, com- 
plained that Gandhi, following 'a long succession of religious men', was 


Notes, pp. 10-45 

' always laying stress on the idea of trusteeship of the feudal princes, the 
big landlord, and the capitalist ', and he made it abundantly clear that he was 
one of those who had little faith in Gandhi's approach. 

78 See the extended discussion of Rajaji in chapter 5, below, for illus- 
trations of this and other major points in this paragraph. 

79 C. Rajagopalachari, paraphrasing Gandhi, in ' Gandhiji's Teachings 
and Philosophy', Swarajya (Special Number 1963), pp. 41 and 44. 

80 The felicitous phrase, ' messiahs of backwardness ', is from Panikkar, 
The State and the Citizen (Bombay, Asia Publishing House, 1956), 
pp. 25-37, 'The Danger of Reaction'. 

81 See the conclusions of Srinivas, Caste in Modern India, p. 104, and of 
F. G. Bailey, 'Oriya Hill Village: II', in M. N. Srinivas (ed.), India's 
Villages (2nd edn. Bombay, Asia Publishing House, i960), p. 145. Many 
other village studies reach essentially the same conclusion. 

82 See the works by Bailey, Dube, and Srinivas, and Erdman, disserta- 
tion, ch. 3. 

83 See Carstairs, Twice-Born; J. A. Curran, Militant Hinduism in 
Indian Politics: A Study of the RSS (New York, Institute of Pacific 
Relations, 195 1); Dhananjay Keer, Savarkar and His Times (Bombay, 
A. V. Keer, 1950); Stanley Wolpert, Tilak and Gokhale (Berkeley, 
University of California Press, 1962); Myron Weiner, Party Politics in 
India (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1957); and biographies of 
the other leading figures noted above. The discussion which follows is 
based primarily on Curran, Militant Hinduism, Weiner, Party Politics, 
and Rudolph, MS. 

84 For the first, see Theodore L. Shay, The Legacy of the Lokamanya 
(London, Oxford University Press, 1956), p. 92, and for the second, see 
Weiner, Party Politics, p. 172. The Shay volume, like the bulk of the bio- 
graphies of Tilak, is rather a ' white-wash ' of this controversial figure. A 
more balanced account, tending to be quite critical of Tilak, is found in 
Wolpert, Tilak and Gokhale. 

85 Weiner, Party Politics, pp. 167-8. Because the militant Hindu strand 
is largely embodied in the Jan Sangh, much detail has been deferred to 
the following section, and to the point at which Swatantra-Jan Sangh 
relations are examined. 

86 For historical materials pertinent here see Weber, The City and 
Religion of India; Bendix, Max Weber; A. L. Basham, The Wonder that 
was India (New York, Grove Press, 1959); H. G. Rawlinson, India: A 
Short Cultural History (New York, Praeger, 1965) ; and Helen Lamb, ' The 
Indian Merchant', in Singer (ed.), Traditional India. In questionnaires, 
some Swatantra Jains identified themselves as Hindus by religion, Jain 
by sub-caste. 

87 See B. B. Misra, The Indian Middle Classes (New York, Oxford 
University Press, 196 1); W. H. Moreland, India at the Death of Akbar 
(London, Macmillan, 1920); and Susanne H. Rudolph, 'The Princely 
States of Rajputana: Ethic, Authority, and Structure', Indian Journal of 
Political Science, xxiv, 1 (Jan.-March 1963). 

88 For a critique of Weber's Religion of India, see Milton Singer, ' The 


Notes, pp. 10-45 

Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism (Max 
Weber)', American Anthropologist, lxi, 1 (Feb. 1961). 

89 See Lamb, 'Indian Merchant', in Singer (ed.), Traditional India 
and Harrison, Dangerous Decades, ch. 4, under ' The Ubiquitous Marwari '. 

90 Based on the various articles by Lamb; Gokhale Institute Notes; 
Misra, Indian Classes; and Joan B. Landy, 'Factors in the Rise of the 
Parsi Community in India ', senior honours' thesis, Radcliffe College, 1962. 

91 Lamb, 'Indian Business Communities', PA, xxviii, 106. 

92 See Harrison, Dangerous Decades, ch. 4, under 'The Ubiqitous 

93 From Rudolph, MS. Many of the leading financial supporters of the 
Congress were Marwaris. 

94 See statements by business representatives in RTC, I, p. 158 and in 
RTC, II, pp. 141, 361 and 370. 

95 See, for example, Weiner, Politics of Scarcity, pp. 123 ff. 

96 For the quotations from Birla, see his In the Shadow of the Mahatma 
(Bombay, Orient Longmans, 1953), p. xv. Weiner, Politics of Scarcity, 
p. 133, notes that many business leaders 'frequently criticized Gandhi's 
"antiquarian" anti-industrial outlook'. For references to Gandhi's 
'saintly' qualities, see Birla, loc. cit., and Weiner, Politics of Scarcity, 
p. 123. For recent business criticism of support for cottage industries, 
see Lamb, ' Business Organization and Leadership ', in Park and Tinker 
(eds.), Leadership, p. 261; and the reports of Messrs N. K. Jalan of 
Elphinstone Spinning and Weaving Mills, and of O. S. Gupta of Sajjan 
Mills, TI, 1 June 1961 and 5 Oct. 1961, respectively. For a statement by 
the Tamil Nad Mill-Owners Association stating that increased excises (as 
proposed) on units with more than 49 looms would force many shut- 
downs, see HT, 14 Feb. 1963. 

97 For Nehru, see Toward Freedom, p. 347, and for Ranga, see Desai, 
Social Background, pp. 173 ff. Ranga has been Swatantra President from 
the party's inception to the time of writing (1966) and will be discussed 
further below. 

98 See Weiner, Politics of Scarcity, p. 123. For the first Birla reference, 
see RTC, II, pp. 361 and 370, and, for the second, see his Shadow of 
the Mahatma, p. 48, from a letter dated 14 March 1932, which was 
already after some of Nehru's more fiery speeches but well before 
the Congress Socialist Party emerged as an articulate left wing inside the 

99 See Brecher, Nehru, pp. 510 ff., for the 'strike of capital'. 

100 See Lamb, 'Business Organization and Leadership', in Park and 
Tinker (eds.), Leadership, p. 260. See also P. A. Wadia and K. T. 
Merchant, The Bombay Plan — A Criticism (Bombay, Popular Book 
Depot, 1945). The Bombay Plan argued that public utilities and certain 
key industries could be state-run or state-controlled, that death duties and 
taxes could be used to redistribute income, etc., but the general conclu- 
sion about the thrust of the proposal is still valid. 

101 See Weiner, Politics of Scarcity, pp. 124 ff., and the several publi- 
cations of the FFE listed in the bibliography, especially those by A. D. 


Notes, pp. 46-64 

Shroff and Murarji Vaidya. As a key element in the formation of the 
Swatantra Party, the FFE is discussed further below. 

102 Politics of Scarcity, pp. 139-40. 

103 This conclusion is based mainly on evidence found in published 
annual reports of industrial concerns, particularly of textile companies. 
See Erdman, dissertation, ch. 4, for a fuller account of these. 

104 Nehru, pp. 510-11, as in the vehement opposition to retention of 
certain price controls shortly after independence, the 'strike of capital', 
among others. 

105 See, for example, Charles A. Myers, Labor Problems in the Indus- 
trialization of India (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1958). 
Evidence on this point will be presented below, in discussing the position 
of business interests in Swatantra. 

chapter 3, pp. 46-64 

1 Much evidence is found in Rudolph, MS, and in S. V. Kogekar and 
Richard L. Park (eds.), Reports on the Indian General Elections (Bombay, 
Popular Book Depot, 1956). 

2 See F. G. Bailey, 'Politics and Society in Contemporary Orissa', in 
C. H. Philips (ed.), Politics and Society in India (New York, Praeger, 
1962), pp. 103-4, and Rudolph, MS, pp. 183-4. The other side of the 
coin, noted in Rudolph, MS, loc. cit., was revealed by the Congressman 
who said sadly, ' the people couldn't be shaken out of their slavish frame of 
mind'. See also the paper by Brass, for the Association of Asian Studies 
meeting, already cited. 

3 See Kogekar and Park, Reports, passim, for examples of the transfor- 
mation of some ad hoc groups into local political parties. 

4 See S. R. Maheshwari, The General Election in India (Allahabad, 
Chaitanya, 1963), chs. 5 and 6. 

5 The Jan Sangh has controlled municipalities, but this lies beyond the 
scope of the present study. Some leaders of these parties have gone in and 
out of the Congress and in a detailed study one could examine some 
aspects of this problem through a consideration of their Congress activities. 

6 To the extent that caste leaders have widely served as 'vote banks', 
almost every party draws on traditional loyalties and 'organization'. 

7 See Harrison, Dangerous Decades, p. 3 12, and chapter 2 above for some 
of the Raja's views. 

8 Kogekar and Park, Reports, p. 20. During the 195 1-2 elections, Ram- 
garh contested against the sponsor of the legislation, K. B. Sahay, in 
three constituencies, winning in two. Ramgarh also contested in another 
constituency in which Sahay was not a candidate, and he won here as 
well, becoming the only person in India to have been victorious in three 
assembly districts. See ibid. p. 21. 

9 Statesman, 5 Feb. 1962. 

10 Based on Harrison, Dangerous Decades, p. 312; Kogekar and Park, 
Reports, pp. 19 ff.; Asok Mehta, The Political Mind of India (Bombay, 
Praja Socialist Party, 1952), p. 27; R. V. Krishna Ayyar et al. (eds.), All- 


Notes, pp. 46-64 

India Election Guide (Madras, Oriental Publishers, 1956), pp. 32 and 94; 
and interviews in India with the Raja of Ramgarh and other party- 
leaders in 1962-3. In addition, Mr Noorul Arfin, personal assistant to 
the Raja, was interviewed in the United States in 1964 and has supplied 
much valuable information subsequently. 

11 F. G. Bailey, 'The Ganatantra Parishad', Economic Weekly, 24 Oct. 
1959, p. 1469. Harrison, Dangerous Decades, p. 312, states that the Janata 
Party and the Parishad ' can accurately be described as feudal elements ', 
although he does little more than cite some of Ramgarh's more vitriolic 
pronouncements in support of this contention. Brecher, Nehru, p. 477, 
observed that in 1957 'a group of dispossessed princelings was able to 
arouse feudal loyalties and almost succeeded in unseating the Congress 
ministry'. K. P. Karunakaran, in his introduction to S. L. Polpai (ed.), 
1962 General Elections in India (Bombay, Allied Publishers, 1962), p. 13, 
calls the Parishad 'a conservative party' which included 'vestiges of 
medievalism and feudalism', and a report in Kogekar and Park, Reports, 
p. 124, insisted that 'the princes were fighting for the restoration of their 
gaddis\ Upon his resignation from the party, Surendra Mahanty censured 
it for 'being increasingly deployed to maintain conservatism and vested 
interests'. See TI, 6 April 1961. 

12 Economic Weekly, 24 Oct. 1959, p. 1476 and generally pp. 1469 ff. 
For Mehta, see his Political Mind, pp. 26 and 67, and for Sadiq Ali, 
The General Elections 1957 (New Delhi, All-India Congress Committee, 

1959), P- 54. 

13 For middle-class elements, see Bailey, Economic Weekly, 24 Oct. 
1959, and Kogekar and Park, Reports, p. 128. 

14 Kogekar and Park, Reports, p. 128. 

15 H. H. Patna is very widely respected, and on the basis of the author's 
interviews and investigations, and on the basis of information supplied 
by Richard Taub of the Department of Sociology, Brown University, a 
high estimate of his ability and integrity would be in order. 

16 See Krishna Ayyar et al. (eds.), Election Guide, p. 90. 

17 Ibid. pp. 89-90. 

18 For Ali see his General Elections, p. 57. For Morris-Jones, see his 
Government and Politics of India (London, Hutchinson University 
Library, 1964), p. 160. 

19 See his Political Mind, pp. 26-7. 

20 In addition to the sources cited in these paragraphs, see: Bailey, 
'Politics and Society in Contemporary Orissa', in Philips (ed.), Politics 
and Society, and his nine-part series, 'Politics in Orissa', Economic 
Weekly, Aug.-Nov. 1959; P. K. Deo (H. H. Kalahandi), My Humble 
Contributions (Cuttack, Ganatantra Parishad, 195 1); Ganatantra Parishad 
or Democratic Party: Policy Statement (Balangir, Ganatantra Parishad, 
195 1); and the Election Manifesto of the Ganatantra Parishad (Balangir, 
Ganatantra Parishad, 1961). Both the Janata Party and the Ganatantra 
Parishad merged with the Swatantra Party and will be discussed below. 

21 Weiner, Party Politics, p. 156 and passim. See also Morris-Jones, 
Government and Politics, pp. as cited in the index. 



Notes, pp. 46-64 

22 The first Hindu sabha was formed in 19073 but the All-India Hindu 
Mahasabha was not established until 1925. It was less a political party 
than a cultural group and for a long time dual membership in the Congress 
and the Mahasabha was permitted. For some background and basic 
Mahasabha perspectives, see Weiner, Party Politics, pp. 166 ff.; V. D. 
Savarkar, Hindu Rashtra Darshan (Bombay, L. G. Khare, 1949); and 
Dhananjay Keer, Savarkar, passim. Keer, op. cit. pp. 274 ff., contains a 
scathing attack on Rajaji for his views. The Muslims have always borne 
the brunt of the attack. Savarkar, for example, praised the Parsis because 
they had no extra-territorial or anti-national loyalties. Weiner, Party 
Politics, p. 167, notes, however, that following independence the Maha- 
sabha turned its guns on 'the Westernized Indian community', which 
would certainly include many Parsis. 

23 Weiner, Party Politics, pp. 166 ff. 

24 See ibid. pp. 170 ff. I would defend this characterization of the RRP 
as orthodox and conservative, if not reactionary, even though in Rudolph, 
MS, there are assertions that 'right radical' tendencies can be identified 
in the party, at least in Rajasthan. The fact that the more affluent jagirdars 
seem to have supported the RRP while the 'little' Rajputs supported the 
Jan Sangh lends some credence to my conclusion. Among the candidates 
supported by the RRP were Sir Homy Mody, one of India's most western- 
ized and most influential Parsi businessmen-financiers, and Major Thakur 
Raghubir Singh of Bissau, a sophisticated, Oxford-educated jagirdar. 
Even a brief encounter with either of these men, among other RRP 
candidates, will indicate that the party programme does not receive 
universal approbation from its nominal adherents or standard-bearers. 
This is further reflected in the fact that many RRP supporters turned to 
the more moderate Swatantra Party after the latter's formation in 1959. 
This was particularly true in Rajasthan. 

25 See Weiner, Party Politics, p. 169, for the quotation and some 
general observations, and see as well Curran, Militant Hinduism, for a 
detailed account of the RSS. The RSS was founded in 1925. The RSS 
and the Mahasabha, which had been informally linked for some time, 
were both implicated in Gandhi's assassination and neither was per- 
mitted to function for some time. Many felt that the Mahasabha had out- 
lived its political usefulness, while others felt that no new party (i.e. the 
Jan Sangh) was needed. 

26 Tinker, India and Pakistan, p. 120. Weiner, Party Politics, pp. 177 ff., 
presents a comparable estimate. Mookerjee was one of the RSS leaders 
who 'fell under the influence of Savarkar' of the Mahasabha (p. 187) and 
joined the latter in 1939. He resigned from that party after Gandhi's 
assassination, urged the Mahasabha to admit Muslims and to confine itself 
to strictly cultural work. Tinker, loc. cit., calls Mookerjee 'a conservative 
in the best sense ', which probably means that he was something of an 
Indian 'Tory', in his view. 

27 India and Pakistan, p. 120. The Sangh's weekly, The Organiser, 
regularly abuses Muslims, Pakistan, and westernized Hindus. 

28 Jan Sangh General- Secretary, Deendayal Upadhyaya, quoted in 


Notes, pp. 46-64 

Poplai (ed.), 1962 Elections, p. 56. A comparable motto was used by 
Savarkar and the Mahasabha. 

29 Upadhyaya, in Poplai (ed.) 3 1962 Elections, pp. 58-9. 

30 From the 1962 election manifesto, in ibid. p. 144, It is also stated that 
* large-scale industries will be given full scope for growth' with 'defence 
and basic industries ' in the public sector. 

31 Conversations with leading Jan Sanghis did not clear up this am- 
biguity. The author's impression is that nationalization of certain in- 
dustries is fully acceptable but that attacks on smaller property holders 
find no support. This seems true of property in land as well, i.e. abolition 
of huge estates is acceptable. On the matter of socialist rhetoric, the 
Sangh claims to have imbibed Marx's moral revulsion vis-a-vis the 
industrial process but abjures all institutional arrangements commonly 
associated with Marxism. The Hindu Mahasabha emphasizes 'Hindu 
socialism' and 'joint co-operative farming' because of the alleged 
existence of communal ownership of land in ancient India and because 
of the success of the Israeli kibbutz. See TI, 24 April 1961; HWR, 1 May 
1 96 1 ; and HWR, 4 Dec. 1961, for the Mahasabha. The Organiser remains 
the best source for the Sangh. 

32 For a brief, comparative analysis of Jan Sangh and Swatantra foreign 
policy views, see Howard L. Erdman, ' The Foreign Policy Views of the 
Indian Right', Pacific Affairs, xxxix, 1-2 (spring-summer 1966), pp. 5-18. 

33 Upadhyaya in Poplai (ed.), 1962 Elections, p. 57. Both the Sangh 
and the Mahasabha refuse to admit that reunification of India and 
Pakistan is impossible or at least extremely unlikely. 

34 In an interview with a leading Jan Sanghi, the author was told that 
the party invariably received a 'bad press', largely because of the RSS 
connection. The interviewee claimed that the RSS had done much good 
work during partition, that it was becoming less militant, and that it 
would be better if the RSS shed its para-military and vehemently anti- 
Muslim posture. He made it clear, however, that he would under no 
circumstances repudiate the support of the RSS, pending such develop- 
ments. For the most part, Sangh legislators acquit themselves quite well. 

35 See the excellent tables and discussion in Morris-Jones, Government 
and Politics, pp. 161-6. The tables are reproduced, by permission, in 
Appendix II. Generally speaking, the RRP, Ganatantra Parishad and 
the Janata Party appear to have drawn primarily on rural conservative 
elements on a largely derivative basis, i.e. through local notables, especially 
the princely-landlord classes. The Sangh and the Mahasabha seem to 
have had as their hard core middle and lower-middle class urbanites, and 
in the early years after partition, among refugees. In Rajasthan, as noted 
earlier, the RRP drew upon larger landholders, the Jan Sangh on smaller 
ones and on displaced retainers in some urban areas. As Weiner, Party 
Politics, p. 170, points out, communal party strength 'has shifted into 
areas where the Western impact has been the weakest', particularly in 
former princely states. He points out that in 195 1-2, 65 of the 84 assembly 
seats won by the RRP-Mahasabha- Sangh were in former princely areas. 
Given the dislocations attendant upon industrialization, Weiner quite 

291 19-2 

Notes, pp. 46-64 

properly speculates that the urban areas in backward states ' may provide 
a new basis for Hindu communalism in the years to come '. 

36 S. L. Poplai (ed.), National Politics and the 1957 Elections in India 
(Delhi, Metropolitan Book Company, 1957)3 pp. 32-3, discusses this unity 
effort but mentions only the RRP, Mahasabha, Sangh and Akalis. Weiner, 
Party Politics, p. 199, mentions all those listed above. Harrison, Dan- 
gerous Decades, p. 291, similarly notes the inclusion of the southern parties. 
Poplai (ed.), 19 57 Elections, p. 32, claims that the group totalled 30; 
Weiner, Party Politics, p. 199, puts the figure at 34. For an excellent 
discussion of the origins of the Commonweal Party and Tamilnad Toilers, 
see Rudolph and Rudolph, ' Political Role ', PA, xxxiii. 

37 Harrison, Dangerous Decades, pp. 291-2. W. H. Morris- Jones, Parlia- 
ment in India (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1957), 
pp. 1 13-14, refers to the situation as follows : ' The communal parties have 
fallen further since their thorough defeat in 1952, and the death in 1953 of 
Dr S. P. Mukherjee [Mookerjee], the creator and leader of the Jan Sangh, 
removed the one man who might have been able to transform these 
parties into a coherent nationalist conservative party.' 

38 Poplai (ed.), 1957 Elections, p. 35. In dealing with this aspect of 
right-wing unity efforts, Weiner, Party Politics, pp. 199 ff., does not 
discuss the Ganatantra Parishad. 

39 For the quotation, see Weiner, Party Politics, p. 203. This entire 
discussion is based on Weiner's book, pp. 200 ff. He notes, ibid. p. 204, 
that Deshpande took exception to such charges, insisting that all would 
have been well had not some Jan Sanghis ' indulged in vilifying or mis- 
representing the Mahasabha. Statements were issued calling Hindu 
Mahasabha communal and a body composed of capitalists ... I need not 
answer the baseless charge of Princes, Rajas, jagirdars, being in Hindu 
Mahasabha.' The evidence in Kogekar and Park, Reports, indicates that 
in some areas the charge was far from ' baseless '. 

40 Chatter jee will be discussed further below, in connection with his 
short romance with Swatantra. He has been somewhat 'rootless' as a 
politician and on this basis it seems plausible that he would be willing 
to contemplate the demise of the Mahasabha. 

41 See Weiner, Party Politics, pp. 210 ff. Other factors, such as the 
Sangh's aggressiveness and emphasis on discipline, could also be cited. 

42 As we shall see, leaders of the Ganatantra Parishad and the Janata 
Party were willing to contemplate the formation of a national opposition 
in which their separate identities would be lost. In interviews, leaders of 
these parties said that after Mookerjee's death, there was simply no one 
around with sufficient stature to induce them to help form such a party 
and they also disliked the ' images' of the major right-wing groups. Sangh 
discipline was also a deterrent in some cases. 

43 For the Rajasthan case, see Rudolph, MS. 

44 Kogekar and Park, Reports, and Maheshwari, General Election, will 
indicate satisfactorily the range of co-operation and conflict. The former, 
p. 75, notes that in Madhya Pradesh, the Sangh, Mahasabha and RRP 
supported each other; in the Punjab, the Sangh is said to have had some 


Notes, pp. 46-64 

'understandings' with the Zamindara Party and the Akali Dal (p. 138); 
in UP, there were 'local agreements' involving the Praja Party and the 
'big three' (p. 154). On the other hand, in the now defunct state of 
Madhya Bharat, the rightists ' fought each other in several constituencies ', 
with sixteen contests between the Sangh and the RRP, six between the 
RRP and the Mahasabha, and three between the Sangh and the Mahasabha 
(p. 190). Rudolph, MS, p. 204 and passim, also contains material on this 
general issue. This MS contains an excellent, detailed study of unity efforts 
at the state level. According to the MS, pp. 329 ff., the so-called ' Sanyutka 
Dal', which included the RRP, Sangh and independents, fell apart after 
land reform controversies divided the Rajputs who dominated the front. 

45 India and Pakistan, pp. 120-1. See also Zinkin, India Changes, p. 225, 
for a reference to Prasad's reaction, which, according to this account, 
involved a threat of resignation if the bill were not modified drastically. 
For a detailed study, see Gene D. Overstreet, 'The Hindu Code Bill', in 
James B. Christoph (ed.), Cases in Comparative Politics (Boston, Little 
Brown, 1965), pp. 413-40. See also Dhananjay Keer, Dr Ambedkar: His 
Life and Mission (Bombay, A. V. Keer, I954)> PP- 396 ff., for an account 
of this leader's bitter disappointment over the mutilation of this bill. 

46 India and Pakistan, p. 121. 

47 As noted, Tinker was generally impressed by Mookerjee, and 
Poplai (ed.), 1957 Elections, pp. 37-8, stated that the Sangh was moving 
toward ' the position of a Conservative Party in certain respects '. Occa- 
sionally, when the Sangh elevates a southerner to a prominent position and 
seems, therefore, to be moderating its pro-Hindi stand, such speculations 
become more frequent. Interviews in India with top Sangh leaders left 
little doubt in this writer's mind that no such illusion should be harboured. 
It is likely to remain adamant on Hindi, alienating at least the south, and 
its RSS ties will continue to give the party a communal aspect which will 
not be easily shed. 

48 'Congress Ideology', India Quarterly, xvi, 1 (Jan.-March i960), 10. 

49 By the leftist periodical Link, 20 March i960. 

50 Quoted in TI, 13 Oct. 1961. 

51 TI, 9 Oct. and 28 Nov. 1961. 

52 Norman Palmer, ' India Faces a New Decade ', Current History, XL, 
235 (March 1961), 149. 

53 William A. Robson, ' India Revisited', The Political Quarterly, xxxi, 
4 (Oct.-Dec. i960), p. 428. 

54 From Swarajya, the 'unofficial' organ of the party, 18 April 1959. 

55 From an interview with a pro-Swatantra Indian diplomat posted in 
the United States. 

56 The major Indian newspapers generally followed the same basic line, 
in assessing Swatantra at the time of its birth. See, for example, TI, 
8 May 1959; Hindu, 11 May 1959; HT, 12 May 1959; Delhi Hindustan 
Standard, 13 May 1959; HT, 17 May 1959; HT, 18 May 1959; TI, 
18 May 1959; and assessments of the various party conventions, mani- 
festos, and the like. 

57 Editorial, 'For Nehru: An Opposition', 16 March 1962. 


Notes, pp. 65-81 

CHAPTER 4, pp. 65-81 

i K. P. Karunakaran, in Poplai (ed.), 1962 General Elections, p. 2. 

2 From his inaugural address at the Bombay (Preparatory) Convention, 
August 19593 reprinted in Swatantra Party Preparatory Convention 
(Bombay, Swatantra Party, 1959), p. 18. The Popular Book Depot, 
Bombay, is cited as the distributor. 

3 All three will come in for further attention below, because of their 
connection with the Swatantra Party. According to Vaidya (in an inter- 
view in Bombay, 1962), he gave an address to the All-India Manufacturers' 
Association of which he was then (1956) President, in which he cautioned 
against excessive state controls, both in terms of their effects on economic 
initiative and on political liberty. Nehru, who had agreed for the first 
time to open the meeting, heard the warning, and, according to Vaidya, 
he agreed, in general terms, that excessive government controls were to 
be feared. Shortly thereafter, both Vaidya and Shroff wrote 'anti-statist' 
articles for a special supplement of the Times of India, and upon reading 
these pieces, Masani arranged for a meeting with Vaidya and Shroff, and 
the idea of a ' Forum of Free Enterprise ' was launched. Vaidya claims to 
have mentioned the projected group to Nehru, who said that while it was 
a hopeless venture in the Indian context, it was only fitting that in a 
democracy such a group should form and propagate its ideas. Vaidya 
himself insisted that subsequent attacks on the group by Nehru were 
inspired more by his ' lieutenants ' than by Nehru's own personal hostility. 

4 The FFE publishes a wide range of anti-statist material, regardless of 
the party identification of the author. The FFE unit in New Delhi has, at 
least in the past, been more sympathetic to the Sangh than to Swatantra. 

5 From the ' Manifesto ' originally published on 1 8 July 1 95 6, in a pamph- 
let entitled 'The Forum of Free Enterprise', Bombay, FFE, n.d., p. 4. 

6 For the quotation, see the 'Forum of Free Enterprise', p. 1. The 
literature, very often, consisted of reprints of speeches and articles by 
business leaders, economists, educators, and others in public life. For a 
partial list of Forum publications, see the bibliography. 

7 See ibid., and Shroff, Free Enterprise and Democracy (Bombay, 
FFE, n.d.), p. 2. 

8 The Road to Serfdom (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1944)- 

9 The Communist Party of India (New York, Macmillan, I954)> P- 240. 

10 Ibid. p. 229. 

11 Ibid. pp. 242 and 250-1. 

12 Ibid. p. 230. 

13 From an interview with Ramgarh, in Bombay, 1963. 

14 For Masani's statement, see Modern Review, cv, 3 (March 1959), 182. 
In Hindu, 15 Feb. 1959, Rajaji condemned the Nagpur Resolution on the 
grounds that coercion would inevitably be used to bring about joint co- 
operative farming. 

15 For the type of position taken by Masani, see his A Plea for Realism 
(Bombay, Popular Book Depot, n.d.), which is a collection of some 
speeches delivered in the Lok Sabha between May and August 1957. For 


Notes, pp. 65-81 

the argument he had been advancing about the need for an opposition 
see his 'Need for a Centre Party \ TI, 4 June 1959. 

16 Communist Party of India, p. 242. 

17 Based on interviews with Rajaji, Vaidya, and Masani, in 1962-3. 

18 Based on interviews with several participants in these meetings. 

19 See Weiner, Politics of Scarcity, p. 106, and, in general, pp. 105 ff., 
for a brief and superficial account of the Forum and Swatantra. See also 
Ranga, 'The Story of the Birth of the Swatantra Party', in Kailash Pati 
Singh (ed.), Swatantra Party Souvenir i960 (no data), pp. 3 ff. 

20 Further evidence on this will be presented below, in discussing 
Swatantra finances. 

21 Here, too, Swatantra leaders admit that when B. L. Singh's con- 
nection with Swatantra was brought to Nehru's attention, Nehru in- 
sisted that no action be taken against him with respect to his official 
position as adviser to the Planning Commission. 

22 This geographical concentration is to some extent reflected in the 
group's office bearers, who, with the exception of B. L. Singh, were all 
from South India, as of 1959. Prof. M. Ruthnaswamy, in an interview, 
supported this contention. 

23 Kogekar and Park (eds.), Reports, pp. 89, 112, refer to support for 
candidates by a 'Madras Agriculturalists' Federation' in the 195 1-2 
elections, which antedates, of course, the formation of the AI AF. Accord- 
ing to one source, the Madras group was a component of the AI AF when 
it came into existence in 1958. 

24 For a fragmentary criticism, see Karunakaran, in Poplai (ed.), 1962 
General Elections, p. 16, and, for a rebuttal, see B. L. Singh, 'What All- 
India Agriculturalists' Federation Stands For', in Souvenir i960, pp. 68 ff. 

25 Masani, 'Opening Remarks', in Preparatory Convention, p. 9. 

26 The latter is noted by B. L. Singh, in Souvenir i960, p. 68. Ranga, 
'The Story', in Souvenir i960, p. 5, notes that both he and Rajaji had 
stressed the kisan component when Nehru levelled the charge that 
Swatantra was a projection of the FFE. Throughout his 'Story', Ranga 
plays down the role of the FFE, which Masani, Vaidya, and others are 
happy to stress, at least in private. 

27 The AIAF and Swatantra have sponsored meetings jointly, and in 
1963, the AIAF office bearers were Ranga (President), B. L. Singh and 
Gayatri Devi (Vice-Presidents), and C. L. N. Reddy (Secretary). See 
TI, 23 April 1963, and Express, 23 April 1963. 

28 Based on interviews with Masani and Ramgarh. 

29 Based on interviews with Kalahandi, Patna, and Rajaji. 

30 Based on a biographical sketch in Souvenir i960. 

31 As we shall see, many retired civil servants, judges, educators, and the 
like were among those who turned to Rajaji, in their first venture into 
politics. For Kanoongo, see Souvenir i960. 

32 From Ranga, 'The Story', in Souvenir i960. 

33 TI, 23 June 1959. 

34 Ranga, 'The Story', in Souvenir i960, notes that on 28 Feb. he and 
Masani spoke at Belgaum (Maharashtra) and that on 15 May S. K. D. 


Notes, pp. 65-81 

Paliwal of UP invited Ranga and others to preside over the inaugural of a 
'rural peoples' publication. 

35 For Munshi, see Modern Review, cv, 2 (Feb. 1959), 88. For Paliwal, 
see Ranga, 'The Story', in Souvenir i960. 

36 See Ranga, 'The Story', in Souvenir i960. 

37 The INDC was formed shortly before the 1957 elections. The Andhra 
Democratic Party was formed in February 1959, and then joined with 
the Andhra Socialist Party (defectors from the Lohia group) to form the 
Andhra Socialist Democratic Party, as a means to unseat the Communists 
as the legislative opposition party. For this, see 77, 10 July 1959, and the 
Hindu, 1 Aug. 1959. 

38 For some of these see : V. V. Prasad, ' New Delhi Diary', Swatantra, 
3 Nov. 1956; Kongot, 'Rajaji is Rising', Szvatantra, 10 Nov. 1956 ', V. S. 
Krishnaswamy, 'Wanted: An Opposition Party', Szvatantra, 24 Nov. 
1956 ; 'C.R.: Some Footnotes to His Future Biography', Szvatantra, 
15 Dec. 1956; Sethu, 'Sidelights', Szvatantra, 22 Dec. 1956; and the 
exchange of letters between A. S. Karanth and Rajaji in Szvatantra, 
29 Dec. 1956. In his letter, Rajaji said that he wanted an opposition but 
that he was too old to lead it personally. 

39 Our Democracy and Other Essays (Madras, B. G. Paul, 1957), p. 3- 

40 Ibid. p. 3. Cf. Szvarajya, 8 Sept. 1962, for his criticism of 'left' and 
'right' categories. 

41 Our Democracy, p. 2. 

42 From an interview with Rajaji in 1962. 

43 The foreign observer, a Harvard professor, has asked to remain 
nameless here. The interview took place in 1959. In his inaugural speech 
at the Swatantra national convention in Bangalore, 1 Feb. 19643 Rajaji 
concluded by saying: 'The Swatantra Party's future is, according to 
intelligent assessment, bright. Let us gather more and more strength 
quickly. I cannot wait much longer, friends.' The speech has been 
printed by the Kalki Press, Madras, publishers of Szvarajya. 

44 See Kabir, 'Congress Ideology', Indian Quarterly, xvi, 9-10; 
Palmer, 'India Faces a New Decade', Current History, XL, 149 ; and 
Vincent Sheean, Nehru: The Years of Power (New York, Random House, 
i960), p. 45, respectively. 

45 Sheean, Nehru, pp. 45 and 56. Palmer, Current History, XL, states that 
Rajaji was 'a close associate of Gandhi, a veteran leader of the indepen- 
dence struggle'. 

46 Brecher, Nehru, p. 86. 

47 Toward Freedom, p. 371. 

48 Rajaji has by no means escaped criticism. Brecher, Nehru, p. 24, 
speaks of his tendency to indulge in 'Olympian criticism', and Frank 
Moraes, India Today (New York, Macmillan, i960), p. 230, calls Rajaji 
' subtle and subterranean, but clear-headed ' and notes that he ' is some- 
times referred to maliciously as the Machiavelli of Madras, or after his 
home district, Salem, as the Savonorola of Salem'. 

49 For the curious, B. V. Raman, 'Outlook for Swatantra Party', in 
Souvenir i960, pp. 79-81. 


Notes, pp. 65-81 

50 Our Democracy, pp. 4-5. 

51 Preparatory Convention, pp. 9-10. 

52 Palmer, Current History, XL, 149. 

53 Kabir, India Quarterly, xvi. 

54 For a partial list of those at Madras, see Preparatory Convention, 
p. 5. The major newspapers of 5 June 1959 report this. 

55 From interviews with people who naturally want to remain name- 

56 This discussion is based on interviews. Narayan declined the offer, 
insisting that he was determined to pursue the goal of a 'partyless' 
democracy and that, in any event, he was not sufficiently conservative to 
find the party attractive. He did, however, give Swatantra a modest boost 
by expressing his admiration for Rajaji and for the emphasis on 'trustee- 
ship ' in the tentative manifesto, and by saying that as long as India was 
not a partyless democracy, a strong opposition was needed to check 
Congress power. 

57 Statesman, 14 June 1959. 

58 Preparatory Convention, p. 10. Note that Masani here and elsewhere 
emphasizes the 4 June date and the role of non-business interests. 

59 'The Need for a Centre Party', TI, 4 June 1959. Note that he ex- 
plicitly referred again to the middle-class basis for the party. My emphasis. 

60 For Shastri, see TI, 8 July 1959. 

61 The preparatory convention was originally announced for Ahmeda- 
bad, on the above days, but the venue was changed. One source {TI, 
23 June 1959) speculated that Ahmedabad had been chosen for three 
reasons : first, that the party had elicited considerable enthusiasm from 
some key members of the Gujarat Khedut Sangh; secondly, that the 
textile interests in that city were vulnerable to a 'middle of the road' 
party committed to greater latitude for private enterprise; and thirdly, 
that Ahmedabad, above all other Indian cities, bore the imprint of the 
Gandhian notion of 'trusteeship' in its labour-management relations. 
See also Ranga, 'The Story', Souvenir i960. 

62 TI, 12 June 1959, and see also TI, 30 July 1959. Ranga had partici- 
pated in a number of Punjab peasant meetings with Nagoke, the leader of 
the Dehati Janata Party, and at a meeting of the party itself, shortly after 
Swatantra was born, Ranga induced Nagoke and his colleagues to amend 
the Dehati Janata constitution, which had originally stated that the group 
would be non-partisan. See HT, 16 June 1959. 

63 For Paliwal, see HT, 28 June 1959. 

64 Particularly vehement were some remarks made by Nehru at a press 
conference on 7 July, reported in all of the major papers on 8 July. He 
accused the party of being the political 'projection' of the FFE and said 
it completely distorted the intent of the Nagpur proposals. In speaking to 
A. D. Shroff's remark that Nehru had been put in office by an illiterate 
electorate, Nehru said that such attitudes smacked of fascism. He was 
reasonably generous and/or restrained in many of his remarks, but the 
press emphasized the charges relating to the FFE and fascism. 

65 TI, 11 July 1959. 


Notes, pp. 82-108 

66 There had been a number of local meetings prior to the preparatory 
convention, and one state meeting, in Mysore, on 22 July, for a report of 
which see the Hindu, 23 July. A Hindu report (7 July) of a meeting in 
Bombay noted that two men who became Swatantra stalwarts — K. M. 
Munshi and Sir Homy P. Mody — were present and that the latter had al- 
ready been designated as 'honorary treasurer'. These figures will be dis- 
cussed further in the next chapter, while the various local parties which 
merged with Swatantra will be considered in chapter 6. Press comment 
on Swatantra's birth was, in broad terms, cautiously optimistic. Most 
assessments conceded that a liberal/moderate opposition was useful or 
necessary but warned against excessive negativism, willingness to admit 
any and all anti- Communist and anti-Congress elements. 

chapter 5, pp. 82-108 

1 Weiner, Politics of Scarcity, p. 105. Biographical data may be found in 
Souvenir 1960, pp. 87 ff., or in almost any Times of India Directory and 
Yearbook, in 'Who's Who'. A close examination of their careers leaves 
little doubt that the leaders are 'distinguished' rather than 'popular', as 
we saw in the case of Rajaji, in the preceding chapter. 

2 Kabir, India Quarterly, xvi, 9, footnote, emphasizes their age. Rajaji 
was born in 1879; Mody in 1881; Munshi in 1887; Ranga in 1900; and 
Masani in 1905. Many of the others to be discussed below would also 
qualify as 'comparatively older men', to say the least. 

3 In the early days of Swatantra, this was one of the favourite terms of 
abuse. Nehru himself often joined in the chorus, for which see Swarajya, 
10 Oct. 1959. Nehru is reported to have said that the 'medley' which was 
the Swatantra leadership made it difficult to know what the party stood 
for or how to characterize it. Rajaji, however, commented (Joe. cit.) that 
'if I have a "medley of companions". . .it is not only natural but fair. 
Our nation is a medley ... It is not a good thing that this big country and 
this large nation should be governed by anything that approaches the 
homogeneity of a clique. I take the reproach of the new Party being a 
medley as a compliment.' 

4 See Hari Kishore Singh, History of the Praja Socialist Party (Lucknow, 
Narendra Prakashan, 1959), p. 21, where he notes that Masani 'studied 
at the London School of Economics and was influenced by Fabian 
thought. Like [Asoka] Mehta he is a good example of the social demo- 
cratic strand in Indian socialism.' 

5 Quoted ibid. pp. 29 and 47, respectively. 

6 Ibid. p. 21. Morris-Jones, Government and Politics, p. 212, argues that 
Masani was not a Gandhian; but he certainly came to admire Gandhi 
very much, and was accused of 'selling out' to Gandhism by the more 
orthodox Marxists. 

7 See Morris-Jones, Government and Politics, p. 156. 

8 Revolutionary Peasants (Delhi, Amrit Book Co., 1949)? P- 64. 

9 Ibid. pp. 54-5> 

10 Quoted in Desai, Social Background, p. 173. 


Notes, pp. 82-108 

11 From a biographical sketch in 1952 by the late Khasa Subba Rao, in 
Swatantra, quoted in N. G. Ranga, Freedom in Peril (Hyderabad, The 
Indian Peasants Institute, 1961), p. 3. In ibid. p. 9, there is a statement by 
Prof. Hiren Mukherjee, a leading Bengali Communist, which praises 
Ranga's ' spirit of protestantism, a spirit of non-conformisrn, a spirit of 
defiance which seem to run in his blood'; and while noting ' serious funda- 
mental differences' with Ranga, Mukherjee added: 'but that does not 
prevent me from expressing my admiration, or even my appreciation, of 
the talent which he has brought to bear in the services to the country. . . '. 

12 Harrison, Dangerous Decades, p. 218. 

13 It is worth noting here that Ranga, Revolutionary Peasants, p. 69, cites 
the existence of considerable friction between the peasant leaders and the 
CSP, at the time the former were trying to develop the All-India Kisan 
Sabha. Ranga's outlook was, and remains, decidedly pro-peasant and he 
certainly distrusted that strand of socialism which wanted to remake India 
in the image of the great industrial west, at the expense of the peasantry. 

14 Munshi, for example, was a close friend of the Brahmin Darbhanga 
Raj and other ruling families, while Rajaji was quite content to apply 
Madras anti-sedition laws to many anti-prince agitators. For the latter, 
see Coupland, Indian Politics, p. 133, where it is also noted that Gandhi 
supported Rajaji here, against violent criticism from radical Congressmen. 

15 V. Subramanian, 'Bismarck of India', Swatantra, 6 March 1948. 

16 These fragments are culled from Rajaji's Speeches (Bombay, 
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1958), 1, 159-61. 

17 Ibid. p. 161. 

18 Loc. cit. All of these remarks appear to have been taken from an 
address to the princes themselves, although the precise situation is not 
clear from the text. 

19 Quoted in Malaviya, Land Reforms in India, pp. 52-3. 

20 For his support for the Karachi Resolution, see Hindu, 8 Feb. 1962. 
Coupland, Indian Politics, p. 137, calls the projected land reforms in 
Madras, 1937-9, 'radical', although no action had been taken on key 
measures when the ministry was called upon to resign. In commenting 
on the proposed legislation, Coupland indicates that there was a good 
deal of opposition within the Congress itself, but Rajaji was apparently 
willing to countenance some fairly drastic (from the landlords' standpoint) 
reform proposals. Referring to both of his Madras ministries, Rajaji 
stated that ' I am reminded . . . that I got an Act passed to wipe out pea- 
sants' debts where they had paid by way of interest double the principal 
borrowed, that I got tenancy laws passed by which farm tenants and 
labourers got a much larger share of the produce than ever before in the 
Tanjore area . . . that these were revolutionary Socialist measures . . . ' 
(from Swarajya, 31 Oct. 1959). The Tanjore area was one of the very worst 
in Madras State and was the scene of considerable, and widely successful, 
Communist agitation — which may have had more to do with Rajaji's 
reforms than is suggested by his remarks. For Munshi, see J. H. Dave 
et al. (eds.), Munshi: His Art and Work (4 vols. Bombay, Munshi 70th 
Birthday Citizens' Celebration Committee, n.d.), 11, 249-51. 


Notes, pp. 82-108 

21 rtc,i,p. 158. 

22 It might be noted that Mody resigned from the Viceroy's Council in 
1943 in protest against the government's treatment of Gandhi. It is also 
useful to remember that V. P. Menon, who was one of the Madras 
founding fathers, was Patel's assistant in the integration of the princely 
states. The story that one maharaja drew a pistol on Menon when he 
broached the subject of absorption reminds us that moderate nationalism 
is not equivalent to extreme reaction along aristocratic lines. 

23 See Howard L. Erdman, 'Chakravarty Rajagopalachari and Indian 
Conservatism ', Journal of Developing Areas, 1, 1 (Oct. 1966), 7-2 1, for a 
somewhat different statement of the main arguments presented here. 

24 Nehru, p. 56. 

25 'Gandhiji's Teachings', Swarajya (Special Number, 1963), pp. 41 
and 44. 

26 Ibid. p. 44. 

27 RajajTs Speeches, I, 108. Here of course, he joins Gandhi and many 
others, both Indian and non-Indian, in reacting to the problem of aliena- 
tion and related issues. For those who sympathize with this concern, the 
question still remains : will any action, predicated on such feelings, in a 
pre-industrial society generate any significant economic and social move- 
ment? There are costs — terrible human costs — involved in stagnation, 
just as there are costs involved in dislocation and alienation. 

28 From Sheean, Nehru, pp. 50 ff. 

29 Rajaji' s Speeches, II, 172. 

30 See Rajaji's Speeches, 11, 161, and Sheean, Nehru, pp. 45-56, for the 
first point. I am indebted to material supplied by Prof. Susanne Hoeber 
Rudolph for the second point. 

31 'To Preserve Family Economy', in Why Swatantra? (Bombay, 
Swatantra Party, n.d.), pp. 11-12. Here it should be noted that a resolu- 
tion to nationalize the rice trade, presented at the 1964 Congress session 
at Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, was defeated. State-trading in food grains was 
also included in the Nagpur Resolution. Recall, for example, the 1962 
Jan Sangh programme which insisted that a time limit be set, within 
which the khadi industry 'will be required to become self-sufficient ' 
because 'in spite of heavy subventions' it 'has not yet become economic'. 
Rajaji made his plea at a time when khadi was suffering grievously, 
in the late 1940s. 

32 See the anti-power loom article in Swarajya, 30 Jan. 1965. Students 
of American history may want to compare this with Jefferson's view that 
his country's workshops should remain forever in Europe. 

33 Rajaji' s Speeches, 1, 198. Significantly, in his ' Gandhiji's Teachings ', 
Swarajya (Special Number, 1963), p. 35, Rajaji drew on this earlier 
speech but amended the last sentence to read 'coercion, fraud and 
corruption' rather than simply 'fraud and corruption', which reflects his 
growing concern for state control of the economy. 

34 Rajaji's Speeches, 11, 131. My emphasis. 

35 See Swarajya, 19 Dec. 1964. 

36 Munshi, Warnings of History (Bombay, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 


Notes, pp. 82-108 

1959)3 PP- 12-13. He was referring specifically to the Marxists in the 
latter remark. 

37 Munshi, Reconstruction of Society, passim. The place of the notion of 
trusteeship in formal Swatantra doctrine will be discussed in chapter 8, 

38 Rajaji's Speeches, 11, 177. See also Rajaji, Our Culture (Bombay, 
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1963), passim. 

39 Our Culture, p. 26. 

40 Ibid. p. 39. See Rajaji, 'The Value of Traditional Values', Swarajya, 
26 Dec. 1964. 

41 Our Democracy, p. 29. See ibid. pp. 47-8. 

42 Our Culture, pp. 27 and 29, for the two quotes. 

43 Ibid. p. 27. 

44 Ibid. p. 33. My emphasis. 

45 Ibid. pp. 31 and 33. 

46 Rajaji, Social and Religious Decay (Bombay, Swatantra Party, n.d.), 
p. 6. 

47 Rajaji considers the former the Russian approach, the latter the 
American approach. 

48 See Swarajya, 21 Feb. 1959, and Our Culture, p. 50, for the quotations. 

49 Rajaji has also taken a strong stand in defence of slums, against the 
' city planners ', along familiar lines. He has said that slums are a useful 
form of 'self-help' which, if anything, 'should be preserved'. See Link, 
14 Feb. i960, and Swatantra, 29 Nov. 1952. 

50 For the harijan issue, see Coupland, pp. 144 ff., and Swarajya, 
31 Oct. 1959. A permissive bill was substituted for one which would 
have made temple entry mandatory. The former would be akin to a bill 
which would permit Mississippi racists to use the principal of local option 
to admit Negroes to public facilities. Rajaji's daughter married Gandhi's 
son: not a typical inter-caste marriage by any means. For the argument 
about traditional medicine, see Rajaji's Speeches, I, 50, and for the business 
communities, see ibid. pp. 178-81. For his statement about the impossi- 
bility of a return to the village economy, see Swarajya, 29 Feb. 1963. The 
author discussed the question of social reform with Rajaji on two separate 
occasions, and Rajaji's main points were these: (1) no party could turn 
its back on the processes set in motion by the British and the Congress; 
and (2) Swatantra would pay primary heed to defence needs, after which 
rural welfare in general would receive the highest priority. 

51 Rajaji's Speeches, I, 196. 

52 'Gandhiji's Teachings', Swarajya (Special Number, 1963), p. 35. 

53 Quoted in Swarajya, 10 Oct. 1959. 

54 Our Culture, p. 37. 

55 For these two points see, respectively, HT, 4 Sept. 1959 and Swarajya, 
29 Feb. 1964. 

56 Rajaji's Speeches, II, 180. 

57 Swarajya, 14 March 1959. 

58 Swarajya, 21 Dec. 1963. My emphasis. 

59 In terms of the earlier argument, that statement that ' to let every 


Notes, pp. 82-108 

person act creatively as he chooses ... is the best means of making people 
work' would encourage the son of the village potter to take up another 
occupation if he found it more attractive, whereas Rajaji would normally 
want him to be disciplined by 'culture' and remain on the job. The 
tension between the two has not yet been resolved, but it would appear 
that under the pressure of the doctrinal ' dialectic ', Rajaji has been obliged 
to shift somewhat toward more liberal formulations. I think it is fair to 
say, however, that in a contest between liberalism and conservatism, 
Rajaji would be very much on the side of the latter. 

60 Morris- Jones, Government and Politics, p. 156. 

61 From the Constituent Assembly Debates (CAD), iv, 544, quoted in 
Morris-Jones, Parliament in India, p. 82, n. 3. 

62 Dave, Munshi, 11, 258-9 and passim, ch. 8. See ibid, for a discussion 
of Munshi's admittedly ruthless suppression of communal disturbances 
during his term as home minister of Bombay, 1937-9. 

63 Quoted in HT, 23 April 1961. 

64 Cf. the dispute between the Congress and the Muslim League prior 
to independence. 

65 Interviews, with Munshi and Swatantra members drawn from these 
minorities, amply bear out this point. 

66 Quoted in HT 3 5 April 1961. 

67 HT, 22 July 1 96 1. 

68 Quoted in the Hindu, 9 Jan. 1961. 

69 For Munshi on zones, see the Hindu, 9 Jan. 1961 ; for Rajaji, see HT, 
11 March 1961. For a relatively recent defence of English by Munshi, 
see Swarajya, 1 Sept. 1962, and in general see Dave, Munshi, II, 

70 Hindu, 22 July 1961, and 31 Aug. 1962. 

71 See Donald Eugene Smith, India as a Secular State (Princeton, 
Princeton University Press, 1963), p. 241. 

72 For the quotation, see Dave, Munshi, 11, 136-7. See ibid. pp. 9-10, 
for a statement along Arya Samajist lines. 

73 Smith, Secular State, p. 485, during a debate on the 'Useful Cattle 
Preservation Bill, 195 1'. Nehru was adamantly opposed to a national 
cow-slaughter prevention bill, an issue which has animated Hindu 
revivalists from the days of Dayanand Saraswati, founder of the Arya 
Samaj, through Tilak, Gandhi, and others. 

74 Headquarters in Bombay, with branches elsewhere. 'Bharat' is a 
more secular word for 'India' than is 'Hindustan'. It is pertinent to 
note here that the full title of the Jan Sangh is 'Bharatiya Jan Sangh'. 
Also, vis-a-vis Pakistan, the Sangh stands for 'Akhand (united) Bharat', 
while the Mahasabha stands for 'Akhand Hindustan'. 

75 From 'What Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Stands For'. The complete 
statement is available in the fly-leaf of many Bhavan publications, in- 
cluding Rajaji's retellings of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata for 
modern audiences. These are almost perfect examples of what Munshi 
means by the need to relate old truths to new circumstances. In addition 
to many works by Rajaji and Munshi, the Bhavan has a lengthy list which 


Notes, pp. 82-108 

is not narrowly parochial, i.e. it has published some of Asok Mehta's 
writings on socialism. 

76 Loc. cit. Cf. Rajaji's statements about the relevance of the Vedas, 
the Gita, etc., for modern times, in light of modern science, notions of 
citizenship, and the like. See also Bhavan' s Journal ', a periodical published 
by the Bhavan, and Hindu, 10, 11 Jan. and 13 Dec. 1963, for other refer- 
ences to Munshi and the Bhavan. 

77 Dangerous Decades, p. 313. Raj aji, in his own way, would rank very 
high here, but Harrison is evidently thinking of the more militant 
revivalists. He should not overlook the other main group, ably represented 
by Rajaji. 

78 According to some of Munshi's closest associates, he was on more 
than one occasion offered the presidency of the Jan Sangh, and according 
to one of these the Sangh considers him 'as one of their own*. From 
interviews in Bombay, 1962. It is, of course, important to note that 
Munshi never joined the Sangh. It is also pertinent to note here that 
Rajaji has been a frequent contributor to the Sangh's Organiser, even 
though he and the Sangh are sharply at odds on Pakistan and the language 

79 From a questionnaire completed by Munshi. The same view is pre- 
sented in Dave, Munshi, II. 

80 Ibid. pp. 263-5. 

81 'Tradition and Experiment in Forms of Government', in Philips 
(ed.), Politics and Society, pp. 158-9. 

82 Sampurnanand was at that time Premier of UP and was not in the 
constituent assembly. He is now (1966) Governor of Rajasthan. His 
statement was made at a convocation address at Agra in 1949, quoted by 
Tinker, in Philips (ed.), Politics and Society, p. 159. 

83 All from Constituent Assembly debates, quoted in Morris- Jones, 
Parliament in India, p. 88. For Munshi's role, see ibid. pp. 73"89j and 
Dave, Munshi, II, ch. 8. For an excellent discussion of political 'styles' 
which bears on this issue, see Morris-Jones, ' India's Political Idioms ', in 
Philips (ed.), Politics and Society, pp. i33-54s or ch. 2 of his Government 
and Politics. 

84 From Tinker, in Philips (ed.), Politics and Society, pp. 159, 157, and 
160, respectively. 

85 Dave, Munshi, II, 251. 

86 See ibid. p. 248 and ch. 8, passim. 

87 Concerning the President, see Munshi, 'Is the President Mere 
Figurehead', Tide, 30 Jan. 1963 and 'The President of India', the 
Hindu, 26 Jan. 1963. Munshi touches on the role of the attorney-general 
here as well, in arguing that the President needs such a legal adviser, who 
is not removable at the pleasure of the Cabinet or Prime Minister, as 
would have been the case under the proposed law minister-attorney- 
general fusion. In general, Munshi argues for autonomous powers for the 
President, the supreme court, the attorney-general, and kindred agencies to 
check the power of the Cabinet. For a roughly comparable argument, but 
with less attention to the intent of the framers or to general constitutional 


Notes, pp. 82-108 

experience, by Rajaji, see the Hindu, 9 Dec. 1962. For general background 
on the attorney-general-law minister issue, see the Hindu, 5 Jan. 1963 and 
HT, 16 Feb. 1963, the latter reporting that the Government had decided 
to abandon the proposal. This is one specific case in which Swatantra's 
energetic opposition helped to modify government policy. For a more 
detailed and semi-official Swatantra statement, see A. P. Jain, * The Case 
of the Attorney-General', mimeo (no. 6 of a series of 'position' papers 
prepared by the Swatantra Parliamentary Office, New Delhi). This 
document examined precedent in England and in India under the 1935 
Act, the 'intent of the framers', and the contemporary issues. The con- 
clusion stresses the need for 'independent legal counsel' to help check 
abuses of power. The Swatantra Parliamentary Board, on 13 Jan. 1963, 
passed a resolution condemning the proposal, which would have required 
an amendment of Article 76 of the constitution. 

88 The committee consisted of Munshi, as chairman, and a number of 
other distinguished former judges and advocates. For a list of the members 
and the terms of its commission, see the General- Secretary's Report to 
the first national convention (Patna), i960, pp. 10-11. 

89 That is, the demand for a separate Punjabi-speaking state, which 
would also be a Sikh-majority state. The criticism of Munshi by Sikhs was 
widespread. See the Report of the Punjab Enquiry Committee (Bombay, 
Swatantra Party, i960), and the General-Secretary's Report to the second 
national convention (Agra), 1961, p. 18. For press comments on the 
Punjab report, see Swatantra Newsletter (SN), no. 11, Nov. i960. 

90 For some other works by Munshi, see the bibliography. 

91 Hindu, 21 May 1961. 

92 Communist Party of India, p. 15. 

93 Based on interviews, Bombay and Delhi, 1962-3. 

94 HWR, 28 Aug. 1961. 

95 Government and Politics, p. 156. 

96 Notwithstanding Savarkar's effusive praise for the Parsis {Hindu 
Rashtra Darshan, p. 69), the latter have nothing to gain and a good deal 
to lose from a marked resurgence of militant Hinduism. In some respects, 
the contrast between Rajaji and Munshi has been overdrawn, to emphasize 
the difference in style. In this connection, it is worth noting some aspects 
of Rajaji's relations with Christians. At one point, Rajaji sent a letter of 
congratulations to a group of re-converts to Hinduism, which in many 
eyes — Christian and non-Christian — was tantamount to Hindu com- 
munalism. However, two leading Madras Swatantrites, Dr M. Santosham 
and Prof. M. Ruthnaswamy, both Christians, regard Rajaji very highly and 
do not feel that the aforementioned action makes him a communalist, and 
their conclusion seems well taken. Rajaji certainly has a tremendous pride 
in the Hindu tradition as he understands it, and he is confident that it can 
be purged of some of its worst defects, without rejecting it completely. 
In this light, he was naturally gratified when some ' defectors ' returned 
to their spiritual 'home'. This is akin to Gandhi's view of swadeshi as 
applied to religion, viz. that one should remain with one's ancestral reli- 
gion and reform it where it is deficient. Such a view is not, however, 


Notes, pp. 82-108 

equivalent to the militant demand for aggressive efforts at reconversion, 
which is a high-priority item. On this score, Rajaji would seem to escape 
censure, as his Christian colleagues argue. 

97 It is worth restating that Savarkar, Hindu Rashtra, p. 122, said that 
many non-Hindu minorities, but especially the Parsis, are ' too allied to us 
in culture and too patriotic' to be anti-national or out of the national 
mainstream. Still, the westernized Bombay Parsi is quite isolated from the 
dominant ' political culture ' of India. 

98 Brecher, Nehru, p. 86. 

99 For the Swaraj Party, see H. K. Singh, Praja Socialist Party, pp. 

100 See the introduction to vol. I of Dave, Munshi, and vol. 11, passim, 
for these points. Both Munshi and Rajaji were further isolated after the 
death of Sardar Patel. 

101 See Harrison, Dangerous Decades, pp. 207 ff. He notes (p. 207) that 
'at the end of the war' Ranga 'was on the far fringes of the Andhra 
Congress power structure ', in large measure because he was a Kamma in 
the Reddy-dominated Congress. In 1945-6 (p. 218), Ranga tried to organ- 
ize 'a compact political striking force, bent upon increasing Kamma in- 
fluence in the Congress while at the same time fighting the Communists 
by reciting the story of Stalin and the peasant'. His fortunes from 1945 to 
195 1 ' went first upward and then to rock bottom ' and he formed the KLP, 
which, with the CPI, was one of the ' champions of the delta ' in Andhra 
(then still part of Madras). See ibid. pp. 226-8. For the electoral perform- 
ance of the KLP see Poplai (ed.), 1957 Elections', Mehta, Political Mind, 
pp. 10-12, 23 and 27; and Kogekar and Park, Reports, chapter on Madras. 
The KLP had some strength among the Jats of Rajasthan, particularly in 
Bharatpur district, in Gujarat, and elsewhere. For the association with the 
Congress, see 77, 23 Aug. 1957, where it is noted that there were 31 
members of the APCC executive, ' but no room has been found in such a 
large body for Mr N. G. Ranga'. See Harrison, Dangerous Decades, 
pp. 283 ff., and Weiner, Party Politics, p. 260, for somewhat conflicting 
statements on the precise relationship between the KLP and the Congress. 
Upon his resignation from the Congress in 1959, Ranga was confronted 
with a demand that he resign from the Lok Sabha as well, at which point 
Ranga insisted that he was not formally a Congressman when he was 
elected, even though in 1959 he was Secretary of the Congress parlia- 
mentary party. 

102 For his letter of resignation and other pertinent material see Ranga, 
Freedom in Peril, pp. 148-59 and passim. The long and turbulent career 
of this man provides an excellent case study in the role of caste, ideology, 
and power factors, and their interaction, in Indian politics, although this 
cannot be gone into here. 

103 This is irrelevant in the sense that it does not tell us very much about 
critical aspects of Swatantra's contribution to Indian political life. It is 
not irrelevant to the extent that the quest for power is held in very low 
esteem in India. Such charges against Swatantra could remotely affect 
its political fortunes. 

20 3°5 esp 

Notes, pp. 109-146 

104 Recall here the appeal to Narayan to assume the leadership of the 
party. Even the more moderate Swatantra leaders did not drag their heels 
as much as did the aristocrats, who were not prominent in the early days 
of the party. As we shall see, however, the aristocrats are of crucial 
importance to Swatantra. An important aspect of this important issue is 
the fact that the princes in particular have considerable residual appeal 
but are often not attuned to competitive party politics. The following 
chapters develop this point at great length. 

105 Based on interviews in Bombay, 1962. 

chapter 6, pp. 109-146 

1 The last of the party's twenty-one 'fundamental principles' gives 
members complete freedom on all issues not covered in the preceding 
twenty principles. See chapter 8. 

2 E. P. W. daCosta, ' Indian Politics Today and Tomorrow — Assess- 
ment and Prophecy', Far Eastern Economic Review, xxvn, 5 (4 Feb. i960), 

3 The Tamilnad Democratic Party to which daCosta referred is pre- 
sumably the INDC, previously known as the Congress Reform Com- 
mittee (CRC). 

4 Preparatory Convention, p. 27. 

5 77, 28 July 1959, reported that the INDC had voted unanimously to 

6 As late as HWR, 17 April 1 961, it was reported only that the INDC 
'has practically identified itself with. . .Swatantra'. By this time, many 
INDC men had already dissociated themselves from Swatantra, citing the 
reactionary views of Rajaji and the party generally. See Link, 24 April i960. 
Biographical sketches of some leading INDC- Swatantra men are found in 
Souvenir i960, pp. 100 and 107. 

7 George Rosen, Democracy and Economic Change in India (Berkeley, 
University of California Press, 1965) and Andre Beteille, Caste, Class, and 
Power (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1965)^ both refer to 
Rajaji's appeal to and support for Swatantra from Brahmins. 

8 Link, 30 Dec. 1962. For the discussion of the INDC, I am indebted to 
L. I. Rudolph, who has provided me with much information, much of 
which appears in his 'Urban Life', J AS, xx. 

9 For the quotation, see Link, 31 Jan. i960. This account notes that the 
Toilers Party is based largely on 'the backward Vanniya community'. 

10 See L.I. Rudolph, 'Urban Life', J AS, xx, and Rudolph and 
Rudolph, 'Political Role', PA, xxxm. According to the former, p. 294, 
both parties had merged with the Congress after Rajaji's departure and 
the subsequent 'democratization' of the Congress under Kamaraj. 
According to information supplied by L. I. Rudolph, the Toilers split, 
with part going to Swatantra, part to the Congress, and part to the CPI. 
This is a most important development, because only very shortly before, 
both Toilers and Commonweal were fairly compact action arms of the 
Vanniyars. For Padayachi, see also SN, no. 6, April-May i960. 


Notes, pp. 109-146 

11 Rajaji mentioned the possibility of a merger at one point but it never 
came about. After Thevar's death, Swatantra and the Forward Bloc 
combined against the Congress in the by-election but were defeated. 

12 Statesman, 5 Feb. 1962. 

13 Preparatory Convention, p. 28. 

14 According to Hindu, 21 Sept. 1959, Janata formally voted to merge 
on 20 September. 

15 Darbhanga was also a leader of the effort to have zamindari abolition 
legislation invalidated in the courts, and he opposed the Hindu Code 
reforms. He himself did not join Swatantra or openly support it, about 
which more will be said below. For the Jan Congress, see Souvenir 
i960, p. 112, and SN, no. 3, Jan. i960. 

16 From an interview with Paliwal in Agra, 1962. This discussion is 
based almost entirely on that interview. 

17 Ibid. 

18 As early as HT, 28 June 1959, Paliwal was reported to have been 
co-opted to the Swatantra executive bodies. For the Gram Raj merger, 
see SN, no. 1, Oct. 1959. According to SN, no. 6, April-May i960, 
Paliwal led a group of twenty-three MLAs in the UP legislature. 

19 For Nagoke's letter of resignation see SN, no. 1, Oct. 1959. 

20 See Ranga, 'The Story', Souvenir i960. 

21 Delhi Hindustan Standard, 15 July 1959. 

22 77, 25 Feb. 1962. 

23 Nagoke served with Munshi, Prof. M. Ruthnaswamy, and Maharani 
Gayatri Devi of Jaipur as Vice-Presidents. 

24 HWR, 20 Nov. 1961. 

25 See above, chapter 4. 

26 See Link, 7 Feb. i960, where it was stated that Ramgarh was 
negotiating with Orissa princes; Link, 18 April 1 961, for a report of later 
talks; and HWR, 25 Jan. i960, where Kalahandi is quoted as saying that 
talk of merger was ' baseless ' and that there were no discussions whatever 
concerning a merger. 

27 For a discussion of the advantages of coalition from the Parishad- 
Swatantra standpoint see TI, 19 May i960. The writer of the account 
suggested that the coalition would be maintained (as far as the Parishad 
and Swatantra were concerned) until the eve of the 1962 general elections, 
at which time the Parishad might be more willing to consider a merger 
with Swatantra. 

28 For the quotation, see TI, 3 April 1961. See also Link, 16 April 

29 This was Harihar Das, son of a former Congress Chief Minister. 

30 See TI, 18 April 1 961, for a condemnation of the proposed accord by 
Sanjiva Ready, who said that this proved that the Parishad was truly 
reactionary; TI, 19 April 1961, noted that no accord was reached and that 
Ramgarh was engaged in further talks; TI, 26 April 1 961, for a report that 
the state Swatantra unit wanted to contest the elections but would under 
no circumstances fight the Parishad. For another statement on co- 
operation in the mid-term elections, see HT, 6 April 1961. 

307 20-2 

Notes, pp. 109-146 

31 Based on interviews with Kalahandi, Patna, and Lokanath Misra 
(MP, Rajya Sabha), New Delhi, 1963. 

32 For a preliminary report on the talks see 77, 12 Oct. 1961. For the 
latter, see HWR, 20 Nov. 1961. The discussions dwelt on many organi- 
zational and policy matters, such as the relationship between the infant 
Swatantra organization in Orissa and that of the Parishad and the extent 
to which the Parishad could continue to emphasize local issues. 

33 HWR, 20 Nov. 1 96 1. The statement announced that details would 
be discussed by Masani and Ranga for Swatantra and by Dr Ram Prasad 
Misra (President), Kalahandi and Patna, for the Parishad. The actual 
merger was postponed until after the 1962 elections, because of the 
problem with respect to the electoral symbol. Had the merger taken place 
in 1961, the Parishad- Swatantra candidates would have been obliged to 
use the Swatantra star symbol, rather than the familiar Parishad bow-and- 
arrow. The Election Commission could have made an exception but it 
refused, in part because it had already made an exception for Ramgarh 
who asked to use the Janata bicycle symbol instead of the star. 

34 From an interview with a Parishad leader who has asked to remain 
nameless here. 

35 From Swatantra Party files. 

36 From an interview with Kalahandi, New Delhi, 1963. 

37 Ibid. The reference to the umbrella was prompted by talks, after the 
Chinese invasion in 1962, of a US-UK 'air umbrella' to protect India 
against air attack. With respect to funds, the Parishad received at least 
Rs. 250,000 from Swatantra for the 1962 elections. 

38 See HWR, 7 March i960, and SN, no. 6, April-May i960. 

39 See Morris-Jones, Government and Politics, p. 160, and chapters 4 
and 5 above for some points on Ranga, the KLP, and the Democratic 
Party. See also SN, no. 2, Nov. 1959; HT 3 13 Feb. 1962; and Hindu, 
14 Feb. 1962. 

40 For Gujarat, see Kirtidev Desai, ' Emergence of the Swatantra Party 
in Gujarat', Journal of the Gujarat Research Society (JGRS), xxv, 2 
(April 1963), 143-51, and Devavrat Pathak, M. G. Parekh and Kirtidev 
Desai, Three General Elections in Gujarat (Ahmedabad, Gujarat Univer- 
sity, 1966), passim. 

41 There were also some defections from some of these parties, about 
which more will be said below. 

42 See Link, 14 Feb. i960; and SN, no. 8, July i960, no. 11, Oct. i960, 
no. 21, Aug. 1 96 1, and no. 17, April 1961. These groups were not of 
uniformly high status. 

43 See SN, no. 7, June i960, and Link, 14 Feb. i960. 

44 For Gujarat kshatryas see Kothari and Maru, ' Caste and Secular- 
ism', J AS, xxv, 35-50; Weiner, MS; Desai, JGRS, xxv, 143-51; and 
Pathak et al. Three General Elections, passim. 

45 Ibid. 

46 Certain Gujarat Rajputs, in particular, cited 'external' influence. 

47 E.g. Kamma and Reddy landed interests. 

48 Based in part on biographical data in Souvenir i960 and on informa- 


Notes, pp. 109-146 

tion supplied by Miss Carolyn Elliot, who did field work in Andhra for 
two years (1962-4) as a Fulbright grantee. 

49 See the list in Preparatory Convention, pp. 36-40. 

50 Paul Brass, Factional Politics in an Indian State (Berkeley, University 
of California Press 1965), ch. 4, 'Gonda'. 

51 See SN, no. 3, Jan. i960, for the Punjab and Bhinai; and no. 7, 
June i960, for Dungarpur. For Bhalindra Singh see HT, 16 Sept. 1959, 
and for the later entry of Banswara see SN, no. 21, Aug. 1961, and TI, 
25 Oct. 1961. 

52 For Bhadawar, Statesman, 14 Feb. 1962. He had joined the party 
much earlier than the date of this report, however. For further material on 
Mankapur, Statesman, 29 Jan. 1962. 

53 For Kaluhera, SN, no. 6, April-May i960. The statement by Zamin- 
dar is from party files. 

54 See HT, 29 Jan. 1961, for her entry. One such reluctant jagirdar was 
Major Thakur Raghubir Singh of Bissau, to whom the government still 
owed substantial compensation payments. A successful RRP candidate 
for the assembly in 1952, Bissau joined Congress prior to the 1957 elec- 
tions (though he was not given a Congress ticket), and then lost interest in 
active politics until the Maharani brought her pressure to bear on him and 
other jagirdar s. 

55 See Statesman, 7 May 1 961, for a statement by Gayatri Devi about 
her husband's political career. 

56 See HT, 29 Jan. 1961, and Link, 12 March 1961, for some remarks 
about the durbar and for Ranga's remark that it was 'silly'. For Lok 
Sabha comment, Link, 5 March 1961. 

57 Jodhpur's death in an airplane crash immediately after the elections 
contributed to the collapse of the front, which was precarious, in any 
event, due to the split between 'big' and 'little' Rajputs. 

58 Link, 5 Feb. 1961. See also Statesman, 22 Oct. 1961. 

59 For Congress consideration of this question, see HWR, 29 May and 
28 Aug. 1 96 1, and Link, 21 May 1961. 

60 Statesman, 22 Oct. 1961. 

61 See Link, 21 Feb. i960, and HT, 12 May i960. The early date sug- 
gests a healthy respect for the possibility of an anti-Congress Rajput 
resurgence, before the Maharani's entry. According to the former report, 
Sukhadia, ' in his anxiety to gain supporters, seems to have overlooked the 
fact that most of the new entrants to his cabinet are not ideologically at 
one with him. Ex-ruler Harishchandra often sounds like a Swatantri.' 
The former Chief Minister, Jai Narain Vyas, had built up his power in 
part by cultivating Rajput support. 

62 Statesman, 22 Oct. 1 961. In a wise move, Vyas did not in fact contest 
against the Maharani, whose majority was so great that all other candidates 
forfeited their security deposits. Vyas would have been wiser still had he 
not stood against Maharajkumar Jai Singh of Jaipur, one of the Maha- 
raja's sons by a previous marriage — as he lost this contest for an assembly 

63 Based on party files. 


Notes, pp. 109-146 

64 Devgadh-Baria had married a daughter of the Jaipur family, but he 
and his wife had separated. 

65 Based on party files. 

66 See Link, 13 and 20 March and 17 April 1960, for these points. 

67 E.g. M. A. Sreenivasan, to be discussed below, and B. V. Narayana 
Reddy, once a joint treasurer with Mody. Reddy had been with the State 
Bank of Mysore. 

68 See, for example, Link, 31 July i960. 

69 Link, 15 Jan. 1961. Bastar was finally deposed. 

70 Based on interviews. In a major party split, some state leaders of 
Swatantra supported an independent candidate against the Maharaja, 
over the decision of the local unit. Baroda's brother was scheduled to 
contest an assembly seat for Swatantra in the 1967 elections. 

71 Link, 5 Feb. 1961, reported that Bikaner had 'apparently' joined 
Swatantra and other sources reported the same news. 

72 See TI, 25 Oct. 1961, where it is noted that she would campaign 
with Gayatri Devi and the two Maharanis of Banswara. See Statesman, 
22 Nov. 1961, for a statement by Rajaji to the effect that she would only 
endorse a slate of candidates but would neither contest herself nor 
campaign for her endorsed slate. 

73 Link, 28 May 1961. 

74 The Maharani of Jaipur, Himmatsinhji of Kutch, Dungarpur, and 
Devgadh-Baria also campaigned for Masani. At least the Yuvarajes of 
Wankaner and Jasdan have since openly joined Swatantra, along with a 
number of other Saurashtra aristocrats. 

75 See Statesman, 13 Feb. 1962, and TI, 16 Feb. 1962. In late 1966 it 
was announced that Bharatpur would stand as an independent against 

76 HT, 14 and 22 Jan. 1962, and Statesman, 30 Jan. 1962. 

77 From an interview in 1962. 

78 For Sukhadia's remark, Link, 25 Jan. 1961. 

79 Swatantra was most worried about the Maharani's ability to fight an 
energetic campaign, but she has declared her intention to do so. There 
have also been reports that Jaipur would resign his ambassadorial post 
prior to the 1967 elections. 

80 TI, 15 and 16 Jan. 1961, for the quotations. 

81 Link delights in pointing out 'feudal' elements in Swatantra (as does 
SN, but without the same flourish, or bias). See Link, 13 and 20 March, 
10 and 17 April, 25 Sept., 10 Oct. and 18 Dec. i960; 15 Jan., 5, 12 and 26 
Feb., 9 April, 28 May and 22 Aug. 1961, for some salient examples. 

82 From an interview, Delhi, 1962. 

83 From an interview, Delhi, 1963. 

84 From an interview, Delhi, 1963. 

85 From a questionnaire. 

86 From an interview, Jaipur, 1962. In interviews, virtually every 
Swatantra aristocrat made substantially the same comment. 

87 This was quoted in chapter 2. 

88 From a report on the 1962 elections in Bihar, submitted to the 


Notes, pp. 109-146 

central office by Ramgarh. These words were widely quoted in the press 
and SN. 

89 My Humble Contributions, p. 148. For other statements by Kalahandi 
which suggest his 'resilient' outlook, see ibid. pp. 39-4*3 61-2, 74-5, 103, 
107, 146-8 and 264. 

90 Lloyd I. and Susanne H. Rudolph, mimeo on political development 
in Rajasthan. (This is not the same as Susanne Rudolph, MS, from which 
we have quoted above.) This material will appear in their The Modernity 
of Tradition: Political Development in India (Chicago, University of 
Chicago Press, 1967). 

91 They make the argument particularly with respect to the Jaipur 

92 The questionnaire asked which Congressmen at the national or state 
level were sympathetic to the Swatantra point of view. 

93 Based on an interview, Bombay, 1962. 

94 Quoted in Modern Review, cv, 6 (June 1959), 438. See also Hindu, 
15 Sept. 1959, for a comparable statement. 

95 From an interview, Bombay, 1962. 

96 E.g. Vasantrao Oak and Mrs Manmohini Sehgal in the Delhi unit 
were political itinerants who inspired little confidence. 

97 HT, 26 June 1961. Mahtab was Chief Minister in the Congress- 
Parishad coalition ministry. 

98 During 1962-3 there were frequent press reports of statements by 
Mahtab and Hanumanthaya, along these lines. 

99 From an interview, Delhi, 1962. See his privately printed volume 
The Second Phase, a collection of speeches made in the Rajya Sabha. 
Much of Dahyabhai's distress flows from the fact that the Congress failed 
to honour his father's memory properly. This bitterness notwithstanding, 
his Rajya Sabha performance has been quite good. 

100 Based on a questionnaire. See also TI, 16 July 1959, for Patel and 

101 See Pathak et al. Three General Elections; Desai, JGRS, xxv; Dr 
Bhailalbhai Patel 75th Birthday Souvenir (Vallabh Vidyanagar, Charutar 
Vidyamandal, 1963), and Shri Bhailalbhai Patel 70th Birthday Souvenir 
(Vallabh Vidyanagar, Charutar Vidyamandal, 1958). The last two volumes 
contain material in both English and Gujarati. 

102 Link, 6 March i960. E. M. S. Nambudiripad, CPI leader in Kerala, 
asked Chatter jee to conduct an inquiry into conditions in that state. 
See also chapter 3, above, and TI, 11 July 1959 (for the Sangh's interest 
in Chatterjee). 

103 Based on an interview, Madras, 1962. 

104 Based on a questionnaire, to which he appended a lengthy, un- 
solicited statement about the Indian party system. 

105 The Lok Sabha Who's Who (New Delhi, Lok Sabha Secretariat, 
1962), will provide pertinent biographical data. For Aney, see Sunday 
Standard, 28 April 1963. The above account is based on interviews and 
party files. 

106 Based on interviews and party files. 


Notes, pp. 109-146 

107 Based on an interview, Bombay, 1963. Lobo Prabhu held high posts 
in Madras and at the centre. See his weekly publication Insight (Manga- 
lore) and his frequent contributions to Swarajya. See also his New 
Thinking (Bombay, India Book House, 1959), which is an analysis of the 
second five-year plan; his Third-Plan X-Rayed (n.d.), reprinted from 
Commerce, 24 Sept. and 1, 8, 15 and 29 Oct. i960; and his Industrial 
Policy (Calcutta, Society for the Propagation of Democratic Truth, 1963), 
for more elaborate statements on economic affairs. 

108 Based on questionnaires. Sreenivasan is associated with a number 
of the premier textile and plantation industries in South India. 

109 For V. N. Rao, see Swarajya, 29 Aug. 1959, and for a later discus- 
sion of the function of his office, see V. T. Sreenivasan, ' Can the Comptrol- 
ler and Auditor-General Make Himself Felt?', Swarajya (Special 
Number, 1963). pp. 117-20. For Pasricha, see 'Our Stuporous Society', 
Quest (April-June 1962), pp. 32-3, and 'Free Economy and the Wealth 
of Nations' (Delhi, Swatantra Party, 1963), the latter being adapted from 
Swarajya (Special Number, 1963). Menon's 'Planning Commission and 
State Autonomy', Swarajya (Special Number, 1962), pp. 98-9, is also 
useful here. 

no See Shri H. M. Patel 60th Birthday Commemoration Volume 
(Vallabh Vidyanagar, Charutar Vidyamandal, 1964), with material in both 
English and Gujarati. Patel was secretary in the finance ministry during 
the Mundhra scandal but was cleared after an inquiry. He resigned, how- 
ever, and soon took up work with Bhailalbhai Patel, whom he eventually 
replaced as head of some Vallabh Vidyanagar activities. There was also 
some pressure in 1966 to have H. M. Patel replace Bhaikaka as leader of 
Swatantra in Gujarat, but thus far, H. M. Patel has contented himself 
with a major re-organization of the state party apparatus, which has placed 
the Gujarat unit on much sounder footing. 
in The business recruits will be discussed separately below. 

112 For mention of ICS distress see S. H. Rudolph, 'Consensus and 
Conflict', World Politics, xm; Zinkin, India Changes, where the ICS 
men are listed with the princes, landlords, and some businessmen as the 
'dispossessed' of post-independence India; and Nehru, The Discovery of 
India, ed. and abridged by R. Crane (Garden City, Anchor Books, i959)> 
pp. 297 ff., for the ICS between 1937 and 1939. 

113 See, for example, A. D. Gorwala, 'The Administration Today', 
Swarajya (Special Number, 1962), pp. 51-2. 

114 Patel was quite popular among ICS men because they felt that he 
tried to protect the services against erosion, demoralization, meddling, 

115 Quoted in Harrison, Dangerous Decades, pp. 3 and 91. 

116 From a questionnaire, where this opinion was volunteered, i.e. no 
question raised this issue or anything close to it. 

117 From an interview in Bombay, 1963. 

118 Swarajya, 4 Sept. and 24 July 1965, respectively. 

119 Swarajya, 24 July 1965. 

120 From an interview, Jaipur, 1963. 


Notes, pp. 109-146 

121 See 77, 8 July 1959, and Delhi Hindustan Standard, 9 July 1959. 

122 See Swarajya, 8 and 25 May 1965. 

123 Aristocrats, administrators, and other professionals joined in this 
view, but it is important to note that the aristocrats are very likely to 
succeed in the battle for votes (even where they find the competitive party 
system distasteful), whereas administrators are not. 

124 Quoted SN 3 no. 18, May 1961. 

125 Swarajya, 9 Jan. 1965. 

126 'Where Ministers Accumulate and Administration Decays', 
Swarajya (Special Number, 1962), p. 57. 

127 'Swatantra Party's Contribution to Democracy', Souvenir 1961, 
p. 36, and, in general, pp. 36-8. 

128 See the discussion of business ideology, chapter 2, above. 

129 The suffering may be more psychological than material, although 
prohibition in Bombay hurt Parsis economically. A number of Parsi and 
Christian leaders interviewed in India emphasized the fact that they felt 
'at sea' since the British left and that they had turned to Swatantra 
because of the latter's more moderate, tolerant perspectives. 

130 See the discussion of Rajaji in chapter 5 above. 

131 See the discussion of Masani in chapter 5 above. 

132 An intentionally vague question was asked about the respondent's 
feelings about the Hindu Code. This does not mean that all supporters 
of the Code are ipso facto liberal or modern or that all opponents are 
ipso facto conservative or reactionary; but in the context of social back- 
ground, etc., of the respondents, the responses become very significant. 

133 See the titles cited in the discussion of Lobo Prabhu, in the pre- 
ceding section of this chapter. 

134 'Fifteen Years of Democracy', Swarajya (Special Number, 1962), 
p. 36. Cf. Rajaji's 'Gandhiji's Teachings', Swarajya (Special Number, 

135 'Our Stuporous Society', Quest (April-June 1962), pp. 23-38, is 
the source for all of these remarks by Pasricha. 

136 Some of these limitations are discussed below; others will be 
evident from an examination of the electoral data in the tables in 
Appendix II. 

137 Latchanna, state President in Andhra, is the most notable harijan 
office bearer. 

138 This will be discussed further in the next chapter. At the national 
level, we have already noted the presence of two Parsis in the inner circle. 
For a time, two Hindus (Munshi and Gayatri Devi) served with a 
Christian (Ruthnaswamy) and a Sikh (Nagoke) as Vice-Presidents. In 
Madras, Ruthnaswamy and Dr M. Santosham, a Christian doctor, are 
prominent, although most leaders are high caste Hindus. In Mysore, we 
find a Jain (Hegde), a Lingayat (Rao Bahadur B. L. Patil), a Christian 
(Lobo Prabhu) and a Muslim (Imam), among the top leaders. 

139 See the tables in Appendix II. 

140 Ibid. 

141 The state of Rajasthan was divided into zones, for electoral and 


Notes, pp. 147-187 

organizational purposes, and all three Swatantra MPs came from the 
Maharani's zone. This zonal division will be discussed further in the next 

142 See Hindu, 14 May 1960, for Reddiar's defection and HWR, 
7 March 1960, for the return to Congress of ten ML As who had followed 

143 R. P. Misra, once Parishad President, entered the Congress, as did 
Rani Nabakumari Devi, also of the Parishad. S. Supakar, another former 
President, responded to the merger by declaring that he would not him- 
self stand as a candidate and that he would not support the party's 
candidates actively. See HT, 12 Feb. and 22 April 1962, for Supakar, 
Misra, and the Rani. Swatantra leaders were adamant after Misra entered 
the Congress, claiming that Patnaik had engaged in unethical practices to 
weaken opposition parties. 

chapter 7, pp. 147-187 

1 See chapter 8 for Swatantra's formal doctrine. 

2 Not all * modern' men are liberal, but the emphasis here will be on 
those in Swatantra who are inclined to be both. 

3 See above, chapter 5, for details of Rajaji's views. 

4 Based on interviews, Delhi, 1962 and 1963. 

5 Based on party files. 

6 Based on interviews and on Link, 31 July i960 and 12 Nov. 1961. 
Morris- Jones, Government and Politics, p. 156, also refers to the use of 
religious appeals by Swatantra. See also chapter 8, below, for this point. 

7 For a discussion of this general issue, see 77, 24 Oct. 1966. 

8 Based on questionnaire data. 

9 Communist Party of India, p. 231. 

10 See the statement by B. Madhok, OHT, 13 May 1965. SN, no. 4, 
Feb. i960, refers to the inclusion of Hindu, Muslim, Parsi, and Christian 
prayers, hymns, etc., at Bombay City meetings. 

11 Based on interviews, party files, and correspondence. 

12 Based on extended interviews with all major Swatantra leaders in 
Rajasthan, Jaipur, 1962 and 1963. The Gujarat case was discussed in 
chapter 6, above. 

13 Based on interviews and correspondence. 

14 Based on interviews, Jaipur, 1962 and 1963. 

15 Based on interviews and party files. Man Singh has since resigned. 

16 Based on interviews, Jaipur, 1962 and 1963. 

17 Based on correspondence. Padayachi has founded a new, strictly local 
party once again. 

18 Based on party files and correspondence. 

19 Bhailalbhai Patel's death would also encourage aristocrats in Gujarat 
to assert their position. 

20 Government and Politics, p. 160. 

21 From a questionnaire. Other Orissa respondents made much the 
same comment. 


Notes, pp. 147-187 

22 Statesman, 7 May 1961. Dungarpur is reported to have admitted the 
existence of considerable bitterness between Rajputs and Jats, but he did 
not elaborate on what he meant by 'unusual' concessions. Little has been 
done, to this date, to gain the confidence of the Jats. 

23 Based on party files and interviews. 

24 Based on party files. 

25 From a questionnaire. 

26 Translated for the author from the Hindi weekly Chetana, 17 April 
1962, from a copy in Swatantra files. 

27 Translated from Chetana, 15 May 1962. In this article, many leading 
Swatantrites (in UP and elsewhere) were mentioned by name. 

28 See OHT, 12 Sept. 1963. 

29 Hindu, 14 Sept. 1959. 

30 'The National Appeal of the Swatantra Party', Souvenir 1961, p. 40. 

31 Ibid. 

32 Ibid. For an important study which bears upon the matter of the 
respectability of party, see Harvey Mansfield, Jr., Statesmanship and 
Party Government (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1965). 

33 'National Appeal', Souvenir 1961, p. 40. 

34 Ibid. pp. 40-1. 

35 Based on interviews, Bombay, 1962. 

36 From an interview. In a lighter vein, another Swatantra leader said, 
' Ramgarh has an inferiority complex ... he thinks he's Napoleon ! ' 

37 From an interview, Agra, 1962. 

38 Based on interviews, 1962 and 1963. 

39 Based on interviews. 

40 Swarajya, 19 Sept. 1964. 

41 This will be discussed in detail shortly. 

42 This will be discussed in detail shortly. 

43 E.g. opposition to major public sector 'display' projects, acceptance 
of a 'Gandhian' approach to India's problems, etc. Some of these points 
are discussed in the next chapter. 

44 The General Council was originally an appointed body, whose maxi- 
mum size was 250. It was intended to embrace a cross-section of the 
national and state leadership. The COC was a smaller body which included 
the pivotal national and state figures. Under the revised party constitution 
of 1964, the COC became the ' national executive ' and was to be elected by 
the General Council, with some provision for co-operation. 

45 Only one party election has thus far been held, well after the 1962 
elections. The Chinese invasion in 1962 in part frustrated plans for party 
elections. Internal difficulties also played a part here. 

46 Based on interviews and party files. 

47 The absence of a cohesive aristocracy bears on this problem and can 
cut both ways in organizational terms. On the one hand, it means that the 
defection of even a major aristocrat will not necessarily lead all others out 
of the party. On the other hand, it means that Swatantra cannot even 
count on aristocratic solidarity as a substitute for a more formal party 


Notes, pp. 147-187 

48 Based on interviews, Baroda and Ahmedabad, 1966. 

49 Based on interviews and personal observation at party meetings. Devi 
Singh has since been replaced as state General- Secretary by a retired IAS 
officer, Mandhata Singh. Devi Singh is now an MP (Rajya Sabha). 

50 Based on interviews, Jaipur, 1963. 

51 Ibid. 

52 The author was present at at least two meetings at which Dungarpur 
made such a statement. 

53 Based on interviews, 1962 and 1963. 

54 Based on interviews, party files, and personal observation at party 
meetings, 1962 and 1963. 

55 Based on interviews and party files. 

56 Based on an appeal from the Bihar unit to the General Council and 
on rejoinders submitted by the central office, made available to the author 
by the central office. 

57 The author was in Bombay when the General Council considered 
the Bihar appeal and all major figures were interviewed. 

58 Based on correspondence with close associates of the Raja. The loan 
is discussed by Rajaji, Swarajya, 19 Sept. 1964. 

59 Based on OH T, 6 and 27 Aug. 1964, and on correspondence. 

60 Based on OHT 3 27 Aug. 1964, and on correspondence. 

61 OHT, 24 Sept. 1964. The decision was announced on 12 Sept. at which 
time it was said that ' only details of the merger remain to be worked out . . . '. 

62 Based on Swarajya, 19 Sept. 1964, a news statement issued by the 
central office (dated 1 Oct.), and correspondence. 

63 E.g. after the 1963 appeal from Bihar was withdrawn and Ramgarh 
was instructed to reconstitute the state executive along lines defined by 
the central office, a number of papers expressed satisfaction that Swatantra 
rejected Ramgarh's demand for unfettered powers. For further details on 
Ramgarh, Swatantra, and Congress, see: 77, 9 and 10 Sept 1964, and 
HT, 10 and 11 Sept. 1964; Statesman, 17 and 25 May 1965, and Indian 
Nation (Bihar), 24 May 1965. After remaining in limbo for an extended 
period, Ramgarh contemplated the restoration of Janata and a merger with 
Jharkand, which had latterly left the Congress. However, Ramgarh and 
almost all of his followers finally entered the Congress. 

64 OHT, 24 Sept. 1964. 

65 See Maurice Duverger, Political Parties, trans. Barbara and Robert 
North (London, Methuen, 1954), p. 359, notes that * cadre parties, 
which have no strong financial backing and live in perpetual money 
difficulties, are always soft-hearted towards candidates willing to cover 
the costs of the campaign and in practice investiture is obtained without 
any difficulty'. On the other hand, he points out, p. 59, that if the central 
office receives a substantial proportion of the funds available to fight 
elections, this can be used to discipline local units, candidates, etc., which 
is precisely what Masani has tried to do. 

66 There have been efforts to deny tickets to Congress 'rejects', as well 
as those from other parties ; but while most parties agree to this in principle, 
they depart from it by a wide margin in practice. 


Notes, pp. 147-187 

67 For Rajaji, Swarajya, 19 Sept. 1959, and for Mody, SN, no. 1, 
Oct. 1959. See also 'Which is the Rich Man's Party? \ Swarajya, 4 Sept. 
1959. SN, no. 5, March i960, quotes Rajaji as saying that 'the heart of the 
rich is with us but their money is with the Congress because of compulsion '. 

68 For Birla, Link, 31 Jan. i960. For the second remark, by Karuna- 
karan, see his introduction to Poplai (ed.), 1962 Elections, p. 18. 

69 For the proposed ban, HWR, 15 Aug. i960, Link, 21 Aug. 1960, and 
HWR, 7 Aug. 1961. For Masani's statement, see HWR, 7 Aug. 1961, or 
TI, 2 Aug. 1 96 1. Under the then existing company law, a joint stock 
company could contribute Rs. 25,000 or 5 per cent of its net profits, 
whichever was higher. 

70 Tata was head of the great Tata empire. Khatau was head of 
Associated Cement Companies and was also on the board of the Central 
Bank of India (the 'Tata bank'), of which Mody was then chairman. 
Dandekar was once a director of Associated Cement. For one reference 
to the appeal, Hindu, 2 Aug. 1961. This entire discussion is, however, 
based on party files and on interviews. 

71 Based on party files, interviews, and a limited amount of public in- 
formation. For some financial data see the General Secretary's Report to the 
second national convention (Agra), pp. 6-7. See also Swarajya, 20 April 
1963, for a discussion of the Tata-Khatau contributions to Swatantra and 
to the Congress. Link, 17 Sept. 1961, refers to a 'great capitalist house' 
which had decided to give a substantial sum to Swatantra but more to the 
Congress. Link, 6 Aug. 1961, notes that a Madras textile man had given 
both Swatantra and the Congress Rs. 16,000. TI, 6 Sept. 1961, noted that 
Sir Biren Mookerjee, chairman of the board of Indian Iron and Steel had 
announced prospective contributions to Congress and to an opposition 
party — the latter in the interests of strengthening democracy in India. 
The anonymous gifts were discussed with Swatantra leaders who insisted 
that the same people had given more to the Congress, openly. The 
Ahmedabad case was discussed with Patel, Bombay, 1962. Also, Rajaji 
received many large gifts, as personal tributes, and these were presumably 
turned over to the party. See, for example, TI, 7 April i960, for a report 
of a purse of Rs. 100,000 from textile men in Kanpur. State units also 
received contributions, too, but no records of these were made available 
to the author. However, in 1966, Masani was most upset that leaders in 
Gujarat had solicited funds for the state unit from people whom he had 
planned to approach for central office funds. Masani accused these 
Gujarat leaders of ignoring the needs of the national party in financing 
campaigns in poor states (such as Orissa), but it is clear, too, that he 
wanted to have these funds to use as a lever in controlling state units and 
individual candidates. See below for a full discussion of this point. 

72 The official minutes of the COC note a shortfall of Rs. 1,000,000 with 
respect to the goal set for the national fund. 

73 Based in part on party files. One source stated that certain Akali Dal 
candidates for the Lok Sabha each received Rs. 30,000 from Swatantra, 
which suggests that this amount was generally provided to aspiring MPs 
who were endorsed by the national party. 


Notes, pp. I47~i8y 

74 Based on interviews, Jaipur, 1963. 

75 From the General Secretary's Report, to the third national convention 
(Bangalore), 1 and 2 Feb. 1964, p. 14. 

76 Based on interviews, 1963 and 1966, and on correspondence. The 
financial picture of the Gujarat unit had brightened considerably by 1966, 
and many major industrialists were themselves planning to contest for the 
Lok Sabha from Gujarat, on Swatantra tickets. 

77 E.g. in 1964, at the Bhubaneshwar session of the Congress, a resolu- 
tion urging nationalization of all banking and of food grain trade was 
turned down. 

78 Based on party files. 

79 Based on party files and on interviews. Most Swatantra leaders in 
Gujarat felt that they had contested too many seats in that state, for the 
assembly at least. 

80 Based on party files. 

81 Political Parties, p. 359. 

82 Based on party files. See Hindu, 2 Nov. 1961, for a report of the 

83 Based on party files. 

84 Based on interviews with Masani and Rajasthan leaders, 1963. 

85 Based on the Bihar unit's appeal and the rejoinder thereto. Masani 
would have insisted on using the Swatantra star symbol and on otherwise 
identifying himself as a Swatantrite. 

86 From the central office rejoinder to the Bihar appeal. 

87 See HT, 6 Jan. 1962, for a statement by Masani to the effect that he 
would not contest a Lok Sabha seat in 1962. 

88 Based on interviews, correspondence, and party files. The record of 
Swatantra MPs from Bihar was, to say the most, dismal. 

89 See Statesman, 24 May and 1 June 1963; Patriot, 29 May 1963; and 
Amrit Bazar Patrika, 3 June 1963. 

90 To some extent, the problem is a personal one, because Masani is 
often brusque, impatient, etc., but much resentment among state and 
local leaders is due to the pressure that Masani applies to further the 
cause of the modern wing of the party. 

91 See, for example, Statesman, 29 Jan. 1962. 

92 Based on interviews, Bombay and Baroda, 1966. 

93 E.g. Lobo Prabhu might have been returned in this fashion, although 
there is no indication that he wanted to sit in the Rajya Sabha, let alone 
from Rajasthan. 

94 Based on party files and on correspondence. 

95 From questionnaires and follow-up interviews. 

96 This is discussed in the next chapter. 

97 See the party constitution, as revised 2 Feb. 1964, at the third 
national convention (Bangalore), clauses 4, 5, and 5<z. The party is 
divided into life workers, who must pay a minimum of Rs. 100 for life 
membership ; workers, who must pay Rs. 3 per annum, and members, who 
pay nothing but must sign a statement supporting the fundamental 
principles of the party. Only the first two groups are eligible to vote in 


Notes, pp. 188-21 1 

party elections. Enrolment of workers does not technically require the 
approval of the national organization, although its advice, where sought, 
is binding. On the other hand, the national executive may expel a worker 
entirely on its own authority. 

98 Based on correspondence and on interviews in India, 1966. 

99 Based on interviews, correspondence, and party files. 

100 Based on interviews and party files. 

101 Based on interviews and party files. A number of other businessmen, 
including some quite young ones, also joined Swatantra in Gujarat and 
were planning to contest for public office in 1967. 

102 Based on interviews. See C. Rai, ' Why I Took to Politics ', a Rotary 
Club speech reprinted by the Swatantra party. 

103 Based on correspondence with Swatantra leaders in Rajasthan. 

104 Most businessmen, that is, are more concerned with protecting free 
enterprise from state controls rather than with pushing broadly liberal 
programmes. However, as questionnaire data on the Hindu Code measures 
suggest, there is a more broadly liberal dimension present as well. How 
aggressively it is, or can be propagated is another matter. 

chapter 8, pp. 188-211 

1 Towards Doom? (Bombay, Swatantra Party, n.d.), pp. 7-8. 

2 The emphasis on political affiliation is based on the party's contention 
that preferential treatment in all sectors is accorded to those who either 
belong to the Congress or help it financially. 

3 These fragments are from the twenty-one points (fundamental 
principles). The last fragment, among others, suggests the 'constitu- 
tionalist ' background of many leaders. 

4 See Rajaji, ' To Save Freedom ', in Why Swatantra? (Bombay, Swatan- 
tra Party, n.d.), p. 3. This publication contains short statements by 
Rajaji, Ranga, Munshi, and Masani on the general topic of 'why 
Swatantra?' See the manifesto 'To Prosperity Through Freedom', para. 
7 of part iv. 

5 HT, 27 Oct. I959- 

6 For the proposal that the Congress resign from office six months prior 
to a general election, see HT, 16 March 1962. For the permit-licence 
board recommendation, advanced strongly at the 1964 Bangalore con- 
vention, see HWR, 17 Feb. 1964; HWR, 10 Feb. 1964; and Swarajya, 
15 Feb. 1964. See also A. P. Jain (ed.), Lawless Legislation (New Delhi, 
Swatantra Party Parliamentary Office, 1963), which is an attack on the 
17th Amendment (prior to its passage); M. R. Masani, The Fraud of Gold 
Control (Bombay, Swatantra Party, 1964); M. R. Masani et al. } The Budget 
versus The People (Bombay, Swatantra Party, n.d.); N. Dandekar and 
Kapur Singh, A Fair Deal for Public Servants (Bombay, Swatantra Party, 
n.d.); M. R. Masani and N. Dandekar, Judgment Reserved (Bombay, 
Swatantra Party, n.d.), concerning a proposed motion of no-confidence. 
In 1966, an administrative reforms committee under Morarji Desai 
recommended the creation of an office like that of the Ombudsman; the 


Notes, pp. 188-21 1 

gold control order was relaxed ; abolition of land revenue was recommended 
by the Madras Congress and the cry was taken up elsewhere; licensing 
laws were eased; there was talk of ' plan holidays ' and more modest plans; 
and the like, suggesting that the S watantra critique was having some impact. 

7 Rajaji, Towards Doom?, p. 9. See also the discussion of Rajaji, 
chapter 5. 

8 From a questionnaire submitted by a Brahmin legislator. 

9 See chapter 6. 

10 'To Preserve Freedom', Why Swatantra? p. 5. Many Swatantrites 
do not, of course, reject legislative 'compulsion' and Rajaji himself, as 
noted in the preceding chapter, was associated with remedial legislation in 
the area of rents and interest on debts. Many of those who would be 
willing in some cases to countenance legislative 'coercion' are of the 
opinion that no such measures are required in the present context. Thus, 
anti-control positions are advanced for both 'moral' and 'practical' 

11 See, for example, Munshi, Reconstruction of Society. Jayaprakash 
Narayan, former Communist and Socialist and now a Bhoodan leader, 
noted ('On Rajaji', in Swarajya, Special Number, 1962, p. 114) that 
trusteeship was a key notion for Rajaji ' which I am afraid is not shared by 
his colleagues'. He adds (loc. cit.) that 'the Swatantra Party has reconciled 
itself to that idea only as a token of regard for its great leader'. Narayan 
feels that trusteeship alone raises Swatantra conservatism to a respectable 

12 For an 18-point manifesto, see 77, 28 June 1959, and for a 19-point 
manifesto, see Statesman, 16 June 1959. Masani, Munshi, Ranga, and 
Ruthnaswamy, in addition to Rajaji, are those most deeply involved in 
doctrinal matters. Drafts of various resolutions, etc., are also presented to 
various party organs, such as the Central Organizing Committee, the 
General Council, and to state leaders, about which something further will 
be said subsequently. 

13 See chapter 5, above. 

14 For a discussion which includes material on many industries, see 
Vithaldas Kothari (ed.), Why Khadi and Village Industries? (Ahmedabad, 
Navajivan Press, 1957). 

15 Except as otherwise noted, all of the fragments quoted above come 
from the fundamental principles of 21 points. 

16 See Statesman, 6 June i960, for one of the numerous statements 
against the Planning Commission, as a 'super-cabinet', by Masani. He is 
reported here to have said, ' if the Swatantra Party had a chance, its first 
act would be to liquidate the Planning Commission'. See also Delhi 
Hindustan Standard, 19 May i960, for the same argument. 

17 See HWR, 28 Aug. 1961, and chapter 5, above. The anti-plan votes 
were recorded by those sitting MPs who joined Swatantra after its 
creation, and the battle has been carried on by its contingent in the present 
Lok Sabha. 

18 From party files. Among those who asked to contest as independents 
was the head of the Madras FFE who had been a member of the Jan 


Notes, pp. 188-21 1 

Sangh until Swatantra was founded; a number of prospective Lok 
Sabha candidates from Mysore; J. Mohammed Imam, also from Mysore, 
who wanted to contest either as a PSP man or as an independent; Yashpal 
Singh of UP, who did contest as an independent, was opposed by a 
Swatantra candidate, won, and then joined the party! These are only a 
few of the many cases. Some did not mind the 'rich man' image, but were 
deterred by other factors, e.g. Rajaji's defence of English was held to be a 
liability in UP, as will be discussed below. 

19 OHT, 5 Jan. 1961. 

20 HWR, 30 May i960, 77, 24 May i960, and HT, 28 May i960, for 
the statement by Hutheesing. The latter two also contain rejoinders by 
Vaidya. In words almost identical to those used by Paliwal much later, 
Hutheesing said that his ' instinct' made him apprehensive from the outset 
but that he wanted to make sure Swatantra was as bad as it seemed before 

21 From party files. The author was permitted to examine all of the 
drafts of the party manifesto, with comments thereon from national and 
state leaders. 

22 To some extent, all situations require a balance of the external and 
internal restraints, but the rejection of legislation as an instrument of 
policy goes a bit far in the voluntary direction ! 

23 From an editorial in the PSP weekly Janata, 9 Aug. 1959. 

24 For the source, and the full quotation, see chapter 2, under the dis- 
cussion of business ideology. Cf. Shroff's comment that the Congress had 
been put in office by an illiterate electorate with these remarks about ' the 
dynamic urge of democratic ideals '. 

25 See, for example, Ranga's presidential address at the Patna Conven- 
tion; his Freedom in Peril, pp. 115-47 ('Planning in India'); and his 
' Swatantra and the Plan', Swarajya (Special Number, 1962), pp. 169-72. 
Also relevant is the Swatantra Manifesto, 'To Prosperity Through 
Freedom'. Munshi on one occasion asserted that 'Parliament, in fact 
does not govern the country. . .The nominated super-cabinet, the Plan- 
ning Commission, does the supervision, control and direction of the 
Government of India, and owes no responsibility to Parliament' (quoted 
in Norman D. Palmer, The Indian Political System [Boston, Houghton 
Mifflin, 1 96 1, p. 172]). Munshi advanced the same argument in 'To 
Restore Fundamental Rights', Why Swatantra?, p. 14: 'The Parliament 
is dominated by the Congress, the Party by its leader . . . And the super- 
Cabinet of the country — the nominated Planning Commission — is 
always there to bring errant ministers to heel. The National Development 
Council of ministers . . . has also arrogated to itself equal powers of a 
super-Cabinet. ' 

26 From a Lok Sabha address by Ranga, reprinted under the title 
'No Truck with the Plan', in What's Wrong with the Third Plan (Bombay, 
Swatantra Party, n.d.), p. 27. 

27 See, for example, the articles by Ruthnaswamy in Swarajya, 24 Aug. 
and 9 Nov. 1963. 

28 Indian Finance, 8 Sept. 1962, p. 429. Those engaged in drafting the 

21 3 21 ESp 

Notes, pp. 188-21 1 

alternative plan are economics Professor B. R. Shenoy, J. M. Lobo 
Prabhu, Dandekar, Masani and a few others. Lobo Prabhu has prepared 
a variety of drafts, ranging in length from a dozen or so pages to close to 
one hundred, indicating some of the major contours of a possible 
Swatantra plan. To this writer's knowledge, none of these have been 
published in any form, but some of Lobo Prabhu's personal views may be 
found in the English-language weekly, Insight, which he has founded, and 
in Swarajya. 

29 Swarajya, 4 July 1959, where Rajaji quotes Lenin to the effect that 
socialist agriculture would require decades to bring about and that the 
kulak must be relied upon. 

30 HT, 12 April i960, for Masani, and Swarajya, 17 Oct. 1959, for Rajaji. 

31 See ibid, for many of these specifics. See HWR, 18 March i960, for 
Ceylon, and 13 June i960 for Great Britain. 

32 See 'Who is Outdated? German Social Democrats Echo Swatantra' 
(Bombay, Swatantra Party, n.d.), and ' Socialism : an Ism that has become 
a Wasm' (Bombay, Swatantra Party, n.d.). 

33 'To Provide a Democratic Alternative', in Why Swatantra?, p. 29. 

34 See 77, 6 Jan. 1962 ; HWR, 13 June i960; and Preparatory Convention, 
p. 8, for references to this. In the latter, Masani argues that Congress 
socialism 'is more accurately described as State Capitalism'. 

35 This range of discourse reflects Masani's involvement in the Liberal 
International, the Congress for Cultural Freedom, and associated causes. 
Needless to say, this argument is addressed to the tiny intellectual 
stratum, while more accessible fare is served to the 'common man'. 

36 The author was permitted to examine various drafts of the programme. 
Masani and Munshi worked on one draft, while other drafts were pre- 
pared by Rajaji and Ruthnaswamy. The final manifesto followed closely 
the Masani-Munshi version. 

37 From the General- Secretary's Report to the Swatantra party candi- 
dates' convention, Bombay, 7 and 8 April 1962, p. 6. 

38 From a party resolution on 'national integration', excerpted in 
HWR, 7 Aug. 1961. 

39 Quoted in Frank Moraes, Jawarharlal Nehru (Bombay, Jaico, 1959), 
p. 417. 

40 Based on questionnaires. 

41 Here, too, men of different perspectives are brought together. Rajaji 
clearly does not believe that the ' old order ' involves many oppressions, as 
he suggested when he argued that 'feudal' oppression had largely been 
overcome and that statism was now the principal — if not the only — 
source of mass distress. Men like Masani, Pasricha, et ah, are prepared to 
concede that the old order has abundant evils but that these are clearly 
secondary to those flowing from ' statist ' politics. For Rajaji, see Towards 
Doom?, pp. 10-11. For Masani see, for example, 'The Congress Path to 
Communism', speech in Bombay, 2 Aug. 1961, reprinted by the Swatantra 
Party, pp. 10-11. 

42 Cf . the history of the German liberals in the nineteenth century. 

43 Swarajya, 8 May 1965. 


Notes, pp. 188-21 1 

44 'To Save Freedom ', in Why Swatantra?, p. 4. This, of course, is in 
keeping with the broader Swatantra attack against the Congress, which is 
accused of unwarranted imposition of the legislative whip, as part of its 
prevailing 'authoritarian' tendencies. 

45 Rajaji once supported compulsory study of Hindi in the south but is 
now a vehement defender of English. Much of the party's support for 
English is due to the intensity of Rajaji's feelings on this issue. See 
Rajaji's pamphlet, 'My Inconsistencies', and 'English for Unity', 
Swarajya, 20 Feb. 1965. 

46 See HWR, 7 Aug. 1961, for these quotations from the statement on 
'national integration'. See also Pasricha's 'Our Stuporous Society', 
Quest (April-June 1962), for a comparable view; and Munshi's ' Language 
and Literature as Integrating Forces', Illustrated Weekly of India, 12 Aug. 
1962, pp. 54-5. Recall, however, Munshi's views, quoted above (chapter 5), 
which criticize leadership which is 'remote' from the masses. For a 
representative statement by Rajaji, see HWR, 9 May 1961. Naturally the 
southerners, and the many Parsis for whom English is the ' native ' tongue, 
would be expected to take this position. 

47 E.g. during the Lok Sabha debate on the language bill in the spring 
of 1963 feelings ran very high and two Swatantra MPs — Yashpal Singh of 
UP and C. L. N. Reddy of Andhra — found themselves heatedly on 
different sides of the fence. Elsewhere tension is evident. As far as the 
author could ascertain, Yashpal Singh refused to speak in English to his 
southern colleagues (e.g. C. L. N. Reddy) even though he knew English 
well while the latter did not know Hindi at all. This pro-English view is 
naturally not well received in the great Hindi heartland, and Swatantra 
leaders in UP and elsewhere reported to the author their belief that the 
language position, although 'unofficial', hurt the party's efforts in the 
1962 elections. 

48 For the Macaulay reference, see above, ch. 3. 

49 For Raghuvira, see 77, 22 April 1963. For one report of such 
heckling, see Delhi Hindustan Standard, 15 April i960. The Jan Sangh/RSS 
and Lohia Socialist elements are most frequently charged with such 

50 Also widely supported in the national elite was a ' zonal ' rather than 
a 'linguistic' division of India. A large majority of respondents to 
questionnaires opposed the principle of linguistic states, although 
obviously not always for the same reasons. Many of these admitted that 
they originally had supported the linguistic principle. 

51 That is, the DMK set aside its demand for secession during the 
invasion, and when confronted with a constitutional amendment pro- 
hibiting demands for secession, C. N. Annadurai, the leader of the DMK, 
publicly abjured this goal for his party. 

52 OHT, n Aug. i960. 

53 See 77, 19 Oct. i960, and HWR, 26 June 1961. 

54 HWR, 6 June i960. 

55 See HWR, 14 Aug. 1961; HWR, 11 Sept. 1961; and TI, 2 Oct. 1961. 
For a time it was suggested that Rajaji investigate the case and present 

323 21-2 

Notes, pp. 188-21 1 

his findings before a commission of enquiry (77, 4 Oct. 1961; HWR, 
2 Oct. 1961), but Rajaji repeatedly insisted (e.g. HWR, 6 June i960) that 
he could not do so, because of 'acute arthritis'. For other references, see 
HWR, 4 April i960, and HWR, 2 Jan. 1 961— both of which contain 
'unofficial' endorsements of the Punjabi suba demand by Rajaji. 

56 See Swarajya, 31 March 1962 and 13 Jan. 1962, respectively. See 
also Swarajya, 29 April 1961, and, for some of Masani's views, 77, 10 and 
19 Aug. 1961. 

57 See the next chapter for a discussion of electoral alliances. 

58 Swarajya, 22 March 1961. 

59 Editorial, 17 May 1961. 

60 See, for example, The Hindu, 1 Sept. 1962. Munshi favoured the 
constitutional amendment to ban secessionist agitation and in the report 
on the situation in the Punjab he was, as noted earlier, quite critical of 
both the Government and the Akalis. 

61 E.g. Nagoke, one-time leader of the Akali Dal and Swatantra leader 
in the Punjab, was reportedly upset at the reluctance of the national 
leaders to take a 'positive' stand for Punjabi suba and at excessive atten- 
tion to Hindu Swatantrites. See Link, 22 Jan. and 23 July 1961. The latter 
reports that Masani was obliged to visit the Punjab to pacify Nagoke, but 
that he emphasized that the fundamental principles did not cover this 
issue and that the party would not take a binding stand. 

62 Mahabir Singh Kalra, secretary of a local unit of the party, quoted in 
77, 14 Sept. 1961. For reported defections as a result of Rajaji's stand on 
Punjabi suba, see HT, 1 Jan. 1961. As will be discussed in the next 
chapter, there was a good deal of difficulty keeping both sides happy in 
this respect. For one strong statement by a Sikh Swatantrite who resigned 
from the party (after being expelled, then reinstated) to press for Punjabi 
suba, see Sardar Gurnam Singh, A Unilingual Punjabi State and the 
Sikh Unrest (Dehli, the author, n.d.), It is not absolutely certain that 
Gurnam Singh is the author of this, but a reliable source has reported that 
if it is not Gurnam Singh, then it is another Sikh Swatantrite. 

63 See Erdman, PA, xxxix, 5-18. 

64 E.g. Nehru's invitation to Chou En-Lai to discuss problems, for 
which see HWR, 22 Feb. i960. 

65 See 77, 2 Nov. 1961. 

66 See loc. cit. The last view is not even 'unofficial' party policy. For 
further references to joint defence proposals and views on Pakistan, see : 
the Manifesto, 'To Prosperity Through Freedom'; Ranga's Presidential 
Address at the Patna Convention (where he noted that he and many others 
had originally favoured non-alinement in order to allow the country to 
concentrate on domestic problems); OHT, 22 Sept. i960 (where Masani 
urged disengagement in Kashmir to free Indian troops for the China 
frontier) and 29 Sept. i960 (where Rajaji urged a Nehru-Ayub Khan 
gentlemen's agreement on a Kashmir truce line); and HWR, 25 Jan. 
i960, 14 and 28 March i960, 18 April i960 (where Rajaji urged a suspen- 
sion of non-alinement and expressed his desire that the Kashmir issue 
be put in the 'freezer'); 8 Aug. i960, 2 Jan., 13 March, 6 Nov. 1 961. At 


Notes, pp. 188-211 

the Patna Convention some spokesmen expressed the view that ' we should 
accept military aid from friendly countries on honourable terms befitting 
the dignity of our Nation' (see Patna Report, p. 82, and also pp. 62-3). 
In a post-invasion address in Jaipur, Masani said that India should take 
western military aid, because there was no prospect that India could, by 
herself, build up adequate defence against China and that all such efforts 
would lead to intolerable taxation. After some western aid was accepted, 
Swatantra insisted that the Government of India had not shown proper 
appreciation, had not publicized it sufficiently within India and had been 
grudging in its thanks. For further views of Rajaji, Ranga, Munshi, 
Masani, Mody, and Dandekar, on a wide range of matters, see Swatantra 
Answer to the Chinese Communist Challenge (Bombay, Swatantra Party, 
1963). Masani, and to a lesser extent Ranga, are the exponents of the 
'tough' line, while Rajaji originally was much 'softer' on Communism 
generally, especially with respect to the USSR. (It is widely agreed in 
Swatantra circles that Masani has succeeded in convincing Rajaji that a 
harder line against Communism generally is necessary.) In the columns 
of Swarajya and elsewhere, Rajaji has frequently inveighed against the 
attitudes of both the US and the USSR in the cold war, has occasionally 
spoken against excessive preoccupation with defence and military affairs 
in India, and has been vehement in his denunciation of all nuclear testing 
and weaponry. See, for example, HWR, 6 Nov. 1 961, for a reference to 
Soviet testing as a 'wicked act' and a 'colossal crime'. He wanted India 
and other nations to take (unspecified) steps to show the USSR that it had 
placed itself ' outside ' the pale of humanity by continuation of nuclear 
testing. For a statement on the atomic bomb, which argues that India 
should aline with the west to secure its nuclear deterrent against China, 
see Masani, India's Answer to the Chinese Bomb (Bombay, Swatantra 
Party, n.d.). 

67 See OHT 3 30 Nov. 1961. 

68 For many years prior to the seizure of Goa and the other Portuguese 
enclaves, both the extreme left and extreme right had been recommending 
a take-over, for 'anti-imperialist' and 'nationalist' reasons respectively. 
Nehru and others had evidently hoped that a peaceful resolution (such as 
that which obtained in the case of the French enclaves) would be possible, 
but when the Congress finally yielded to a variety of pressures, articulate 
Indian opinion was almost unanimous. Here, as elsewhere, Swatantra 
demonstrated its willingness to stand ' above the struggle ' and the passions 
which animate many other Indian parties. 

69 I.e. in connection with electoral alliances, which will be discussed in 
the following chapter. 

70 Almost all Swatantra leaders who were interviewed or who returned 
questionnaires were opposed to linguistic states now, although many had 
favoured their creation earlier. 

71 There are many Swatantrites for whom Masani, Rajaji and others 
go much too far in the direction of 'sweet reasonableness' toward 

72 For the latter, see, for example, V. N. Naik, Indian Liberalism 

325 21-3 

Notes, pp. 212-244 

(Bombay, Padma, 1945), passim. The author notes (p. 3) that the Moderate 
leaders displayed ' animated moderation ' and (p. 4) a 'fine blend of historic 
sense, culture and courage'. He quotes (p. 16) a speech by Gokhale, in 
which the latter said * I want our men and women, without distinction of 
caste and creed, to have opportunities to grow to the full height of their 
stature, unhampered by cramping and unnatural distinctions.' These and 
similar thoughts abound in the speeches of Naoroji, Mehta, Gokhale, 
Ranade, et al. 

73 See Kabir, India Quarterly, xvi, for some discussion of the place of 
Swatantra ideology in the Indian political tradition. 

74 Based on interviews. Most of the UP and Rajasthan leaders adverted 
to this issue, when asked about the prospects for Swatantra and the Sangh, 
as well as relations between the two. 

75 Swarajya, 16 Sept. 1961. 

76 Swarajya, 8 May 1965. 

77 Naik, Indian Liberalism, p. 63. 

78 Ibid. pp. 260 and 267. 

79 From an interview with a Bombay professional man. 
8c From an interview in New Delhi, 1962. 

81 As noted at various points above, the author had access to all party 

82 Based on interviews. 

83 Based on interviews and on personal observation at election tribunal 
proceedings in Baroda. 

84 See, for example, HT, 26 Oct. 1959, Statesman, 28 May and 1 June 

85 HT, 18 July i960. 

86 It should be quite clear, even from this brief survey, that a consider- 
able gap separates Swatantra doctrine from that of the Jan Sangh and the 
RRP, discussed in chapter 3. This is not to say that some of Rajaji's 
formulations would not elicit the approval of either (or both), or that they 
have no common points, in both domestic and foreign policy. The overall 
'tone' and most important specifics are different, however. This will 
become somewhat clearer in the subsequent discussion. 

chapter 9, pp. 212-244 

1 Masani in particular was adamant on this point. See HWR, 22 May 

2 See Link, 9 July 1961. However, in TI, 10 Oct. i960, Rajaji listed 
acceptable allies— including the Sangh, RRP, DMK, and Akali Dal — but 
did not mention the CPI. Recall also that while Rajaji termed the CPI his 
'enemy number one', he also said he would not favour a ban on it, as 
long as it refrained from insurrectionary activity. 

3 For Andhra, see Hindu, 14 Feb. 1962. Party files record this as one of 
the serious breaches of discipline in the 1962 elections. The indirect 
relations with the CPI occurred primarily in Madras, via the DMK, and 
in the Punjab, via the Akalis, and these will be discussed below. 


Notes, pp. 212-244 

4 TI, 29 July 1961. Masani included the PSP and the Socialist Party 
among those with whom adjustments would be sought. 

5 HWR, 22 May 1961. 

6 For a lengthy statement concerning understandings, see Hindu, 
13 Jan. 1961, and HT, 23 Jan. 1961. 

7 Dungarpur, in dealing with the Jan Sangh in Rajasthan, initially held 
back, pending advice from the national leaders, who had been talking 
with Sangh leaders (Statesman, 14 April 1961). 

8 There were others, of course: the Jharkand Party (Bihar); the 
Forward Bloc (Madras); the Hindu Mahasabha (UP and Madhya 
Pradesh), as well as the socialist parties. In terms of rightist politics 
specifically, however, talks with the Sangh, RRP, and Mahasabha were 
the most important, while in terms of serious contenders for power, the 
Sangh, DMK, and the Akali Dal bulked largest. At some junctures, 
leading independents were also approached. 

9 HT, 23 Nov. 1961. 

10 See, for example, HT, 3 1 Jan. 1962, for the DMK, and the Statesman, 

10 May i960, for the Jan Sangh in UP. 

11 HT, 23 Nov. 1961. 

12 See, for example, the statement by T. G. Gehani of the Jan Sangh, 
TI, 3 Aug. 1 96 1, in which he claims that Sangh strength is often under- 
estimated by others. 

13 This, of course, was a point which Swatantra never failed to empha- 
size. With respect to Swatantra's entry as one among many opposition 
groups, one Swatantra leader compared the party's position to that of a 
merchant who seeks to set up a new shop in an old bazaar district. Other 
merchants view the newcomer with suspicion, if not hostility, as a 
competitor; they wait to see how well business will go; and they will seek 
some agreements with respect to trade, if circumstances seem to require it, 
i.e. if the new party establishes itself as a worthy competitor. The analogy, 
while far from perfect, is none the less useful. 

14 Questionnaires returned by Brahmins from Madras, Andhra, and 
Mysore generally opposed electoral understandings with the DMK and 
some of them explicitly mentioned anti-Brahmin ' communalism ' as the 
reason for the position taken. 

15 Harrison, Dangerous Decades. 

16 The Rajaji-Annadorai link is claimed by Economic Weekly, 8 Sept. 
1962, p. 1439. See also the Hindu, 18 Feb. 1962. 

17 See TI, 2 Jan. 1962, Hindu, 16 Feb. 1962, and 'The Meaning 
of Chittoor', Economic Weekly, 8 Sept. 1962, p. 1439. Harrison, 
Dangerous Decades, speculated that the DMK might exploit strained 
international relations to further its secessionist cause, which proved to 
be wrong. 

18 For details on the negotiations, see HT, 26 June 1961; TI, 5 Aug. 
1 96 1 ; HWR, 6 Nov. 1961 ; as well as TI, 19 April and 13 June 1961. In an 
interview in Madras, Aug. 1962, Mr V. K. Narasimhan, associate editor 
of the Hindu, stressed Swatantra's image in explaining the breakdown of 
negotiations, while most Swatantra and DMK leaders interviewed in 


Notes, pp. 212-244 

Madras stressed Swatantra's demands for some prestige seats, as well as 
for a relatively large number of seats, as the principal factor. For the 
question of the lists, see Statesman, 4 and 9 Jan. 1962. 

19 Statesman, 4 Jan. 1961. 

20 Loc. cit. 

21 See, respectively, Statesman, 9 Jan. 1962, TI, 3 1 Jan. 1962, and States- 
man, 4 Jan. 1962, for these fragments. 

22 Hindu, 9 Feb. 1962. 

23 One DMK leader interviewed said that his party would certainly 
contest almost every seat, avoiding only a few where some well-established 
figure was virtually unbeatable. Swatantra did not come out of Madras 
completely empty-handed : the late U. M. Thevar, popular leader of the 
Thevar-based Madras Forward Bloc, received Swatantra support and 
became an associate member of the Swatantra parliamentary party, 
although to the knowledge of Swatantra leaders in the Lok Sabha he 
never once appeared at a group meeting and, as far as they knew, he never 
appeared in New Delhi. Thevar died in 1964, and in the by-election to 
fill this seat, the Swatantra-Forward Bloc forces were defeated by the 
Congress candidate. 

24 There were a number of contests for both the Lok Sabha and 
assembly where Swatantra candidates were narrowly defeated. 

25 At Tiruchengode, in August 1962, where the DMK won a seat 
vacated by a Congressman. The Chittoor by-election was held in late 
August 1962, shortly after that in Tiruchengode. Chittoor is in Andhra 
but is close to the Madras-Andhra line, and the DMK has some influence 
in the district. In pre-election activity, the DMK and Swatantra shared 
the same platform quite frequently, while the Congress and CPI held 
separate meetings in support of the Congress candidate. The DMK 
brought in many people from Madras City where there had recently been 
very serious disturbances involving the DMK and a frequently heard 
electoral message was that concerning Congress brutality in suppressing 
DMK activities. As expected, the DMK claimed credit for Ranga's 
margin of victory, which was very slight. The Hindu and the Express 
(Chittoor edition) for August 1962 provide detailed coverage of this 
important by-election. 

26 The latter point will be considered more fully below. Munshi, and 
some other Swatantrites (particularly in UP, but generally in the north), 
are still extremely hostile to the DMK and to Rajaji for courting it. For 
other criticism of Swatantra on this score, see TI, 10, 18 and 19 Aug. 

27 See TI, 11 July 1959. 

28 See Weiner, MS, for the Gujarat case. 

29 Quoted in Link, 31 Jan. i960. According to a letter in Link, 3 Dec. 
1961, Rajaji at one point explicitly denied that the Sangh can be called 

30 From a statement by a Sangh leader in Andhra, cited TI, 16 May 1961 . 
Recall also that Murarji Vaidya, now a Swatantra leader in Bombay, 
helped to draft the 1957 Jan Sangh economic programme. 


Notes, pp. 212-244 

31 See, for example. Link, 24 Jan. 1960, for reference to concerted 
opposition efforts among the 'tax-burdened peasantry' of the Punjab. 

32 Most Jan Sangh leaders who were interviewed felt that differences on 
economic issues were more apparent than real. The Sangh's defence of 
land ceilings was lightly dismissed by one leader who said it was simply a 
matter of accepting a fait accompli and of associating with a measure 
widely considered 'progressive'. He argued that Swatantra's opposition 
would do absolutely no good, and that in the last analysis, both parties 
would have to learn to live with land ceilings. He denied, however, that 
the Sangh was at all enthused about such 'attacks' on property, and in 
passing he condemned the Lohia Socialists because they were 'real 
Socialists'. Many Swatantra party men feel, however, that many Jan 
Sanguis are also ' real Socialists ' — a view which is also held widely about 
the DMK. 

33 77, 29 July 1 96 1. 

34 For the Sangh positions, see 77, 1 5 Sept. 1 96 1, and OUT, 2 1 Sept. 1961. 

35 Significantly, the late Jan Sangh President, Dr Raghuvira, was 
reportedly 'gagged' because too many of his public pronouncements were 
conciliatory towards Pakistan. See Erdman, PA, xxxix, 5-1 8, for a compari- 
son of Swatantra and Jan Sangh foreign policy views. 

36 See chapter 3, above, for Upadhyaya's statement about education in 
'Macaulay's mould'. 

37 For the first point, see HWR, 11 April i960. For the second, see 77, 
16 May and 15 Sept. 1961. On all counts, the Sangh's criticism finds some 
resonance in Swatantra itself, particularly in Munshi, of the national 
leaders, and in UP. In terms of culture and tradition more broadly con- 
ceived, the Sangh finds little fault with Rajaji. M. R. Malkani, editor of 
The Organiser, emphasized the language division. In an interview in 
Cambridge, Mass., Dec. 1961. 

38 From a report on the 1962 elections in Rajasthan, sent by the state 
unit to the central office. Here, as elsewhere, the author is grateful to 
Swatantra authorities for having made the party's files available to him. 

39 77, 3 Aug. 1961. 

40 Statesman, 4 Jan. 1962. 

41 E.g. Masani held a number of meetings with the late Dr Raghuvira, 
Jan Sangh President at one stage, concerning both nationwide and state- 
by-state adjustments. 

42 Statesman, 7 May 1961. Dungarpur is reported to have criticized the 
Sangh aim of ' Akhand Hindustan ' and to have favoured the canal water 
treaty with Pakistan which the Sangh had condemned. Dungarpur insisted 
that harmonious relations with Pakistan had to be cultivated and that 
Sangh positions worked counter to this goal. 

43 77, 20 Nov. 1 96 1. The report notes that the Maharaja met twice with 
Bhairon Singh, leader of the Jan Sangh group in the state assembly; they 
had arrived ' at some sort of a working arrangement on the distribution of 
assembly constituencies to avert a direct clash between the two parties'; 
and that final arrangements would be made in discussion between Masani 
and Bhairon Singh. 


Notes, pp. 212-244 

44 Statesman, 22 Nov. 1961. TI, 24 Nov. 1961, reports a tour of some 
districts by both the Maharaja and Maharani of Jaipur in the course of 
which the latter was supposed to meet with opposition leaders. 

45 See HT, 12 Dec. 1961, and Statesman, 13 Dec. 1961, for some 
accounts of these developments. 

46 From interviews in Rajasthan, 1962 and 1963. 

47 Statesman, 13 Dec. 1961. See also Statesman, 4 Jan. 1962, for a 
further reference, to the effect that ' the breakdown of talks . . . has destroyed 
the image, sought to be built up, of these Opposition parties as an 
alternative to the Congress. Local adjustments are still contemplated. . . \ 

48 HT, 19 Feb. 1962. 

49 TI, 4 March 1962. 

50 HT, 23 Oct. 1962. 

51 During one time of troubles for the Congress in Rajasthan, Dungrapur 
intimated that he would be willing to enter a coalition with a wing of the 
Congress and support Sukhadia as the Chief Minister. See HT, 8 Aug. 

52 See OHT, 14 May 1964, for a report of the rumoured merger and a 
denial by the Swatantra state unit. 

53 HT, 24 April 1962, refers to Bhairon Singh as the Sangh's ' astute and 
alert leader ' who * has not allowed the spotlight to wander far away from 
him, or for too long. He is the sleuth of the opposition, and knows the 
location of every grievance in the administration, or outside \ For press 
charges about Swatantra's poor performance in Rajasthan, see: Express, 
12 April 1962; New Age, 15 April 1962; HT, 24 April 1962; and States- 
man, 30 April 1962. Dungarpur submitted a rebuttal to these charges and 
this document is in Swatantra Party files, Bombay. 

54 See OHT, 14 May 1964; TI, 19 July 1965; and TI, 20 July 1965, 

55 SN, no. 41, Jan.-Feb. 1964. 

56 Statesman, 8 June 1965, reproduced in the Organiser, 14 June 1965, 
and discussed in Swarajya, 3 July 1965. 

57 From an interview. 

58 In mid- 1 965, there were numerous reports that Sangh units in 
Gujarat, Mysore, and other non-Hindi-speaking states insisted on a 
more restrained language policy and that the leadership did yield some 

59 The death of Raghuvira seems to have hurt relations between the 
two parties. Masani and other Swatantra leaders got on well with Rag- 
huvira, who, among other things, was reportedly ' muzzled ' by the Sangh 
because of a relatively moderate stance towards Pakistan. 

60 See TI, 15 March i960, for an announcement that the Akali Dal had 
decided to abrogate its alliance with the Congress, coupled with a request 
that all MPs and ML As elected on the joint Congress- Akali ticket move 
from the government benches to the opposition benches. The decision 
was taken because of the failure of the Congress to respond to Akali 
demands concerning the linguistic issue and related matters. 

61 TI, 26 Sept. 1959, reports that the Punjab unit of the Jan Sangh (like 


Notes, pp. 212-244 

the national organization) demanded that Nehru unequivocally reiterate 
his stand that there would be no division of the Punjab. 

62 Statesman, 16 July i960. The resolution, passed by general meeting 
of the Chandigarh unit against Gurnam Singh, who was its chairman, 
specifically referred to his close association with the Akali Dal. Gurnam 
Singh and Harbans Singh Gujral had been serving as counsel to Master 
Tara Singh of the Akali Dal. 

63 From party files. 

64 See the discussion of Munshi in chapter 5 and of Swatantra doctrine 
in chapter 8. 

65 TI, 24 June 1961. 

66 Statesman, 2 Jan. 1962. 

67 See ibid., where it is noted that Nagoke was supposed to contest 
against a Communist candidate who would under no circumstances be 
withdrawn. Thus Akali support for Nagoke would have obliged them to 
oppose the CPI, prejudicing chances for broader Akali-CPI co-oper- 
ation. HT, 1 Jan. 1962, notes that representatives of the Akalis, CPI, 
Swatantra, PSP and the Republican Party met together to consider 
electoral adjustments but had been successful in only a very few cases. 
The Statesman, 20 Jan. 1962, reports Nagoke's withdrawal. 

68 HT, 28 April 1961, reports a Swatantra announcement that it hoped 
to contest about 100 out of 154 assembly seats. In HT, 1 Jan. 1962, and 
Statesman, 2 Jan. 1962. There are reports of Swatantra displeasure over 
the small number of seats which they were 'conceded' by the other 
opposition parties. TI, 3 Jan. 1962, reported that Swatantra finally 
announced a list of 39 assembly and 7 Lok Sabha candidates but many of 
these were withdrawn, too, at the last minute. Nagoke was among the 
latter, as was Raja Bhalindra Singh, who refused to contest for the 
Patiala Lok Sabha seat after his brother, the Maharaja, had declined to 
support him. 

69 Statesman, 20 Jan. 1962. Basant Singh, the state General- Secretary, 
was reported to be among those who would use the Akali symbol alone. 
In a report to the Central Organizing Committee of the Swatantra Party, 
Masani listed the use of the Akali symbol as one of the serious breaches of 
discipline evident in the 1962 elections. 

70 See Statesman, 20 Jan. 1962, and, for further information on Akali- 
CPI negotiations, TI, 3 and 5 Jan. 1962. 

71 According to very reliable sources, Swatantra provided Rs. 30,000 
to each Akali candidate for the Lok Sabha, and the three victorious Akalis 
became, in fact, associate members of the Swatantra group in Parliament. 
One of these, Sardar Kapur Singh, has been an office-holder in the 
Swatantra parliamentary organization, which suggests rather complete 
amalgamation at the Lok Sabha level. None the less the two remain 
organizationally distinct outside of Parliament and Akalis are far from 
convinced that Swatantra is a satisfactory vehicle through which they 
can advance their interests. The question of Akali- Swatantra candidacies 
remains a bit obscure because some Swatantra candidates did use the 
Akali symbol. 


Notes, pp. 212-244 

72 Statesman, 7 Feb. 1963. Rajaji said much the same thing, HWR, 
4 April i960. 

73 For the statement by the MP (Buta Singh), see 77, 13 Feb. 1963. 
For the entry of one high-ranking Akali, see either HT or 77, 20 Sept. 
1962. Also see Statesman, 7 Feb. 1963, and 77, 14 Feb. 1963, for reports of 
possible merger. 

74 OHT, 7 April i960. 

75 HT, 3 Jan. 1961, argues that Nagoke had played a key role in efforts 
to have the Akali Dal reject in toto an appeal from Nehru to reduce 
tension over the Punjabi suba issue. According to this report, Nagoke 
took part in the formal Akali discussions, by special invitation. 

76 See 77, 14 Feb. 1963, for Fateh Singh's statement. 

77 HT, 28 April 1965. 

78 Based on correspondence and on the following newspaper accounts : 
HT, 28 April 1965 (Kapur Singh); Patriot, 8 July 1965 (Akali meeting to 
decide future); HT Weekly, 11 July 1965, and Patriot, 11 July 1965 
(Gurnam Singh and the opposition of Patiala and Fateh Singh); TI, 
21 July 1965 (S ant-Master reconciliation effort); Pioneer, 25 July 1965 
(Tara Singh-Rajaji); Express, 29 July 1965 (split among Akali legislators 
in Punjab assembly and Gurnam Singh's role); ibid. (Rajaji-Ranga-Tara 
Singh talks); Organiser, 1 Aug. 1965 (Sikh state demand); Express, 4 Aug. 
1965 (Tara Singh decline, relations with Swatantra); TI, 11 Aug. 1965 
(Rajaji quote). 

79 A resolution of the Punjabi suba issue might conceivably allow the 
Akalis to turn their attention to the type of issue which Swatantra prefers 
to emphasize; but at least at the present time, it would appear that under 
such conditions an Akali-Congress entente would be more likely. 

80 To be sure, the Sangh does admit non-Hindus and is therefore 
officially non-communal, which may make it sufficiently respectable as a 
close ally or even for purposes of merger. The fusion of the ranks of the 
two parties would be very difficult for a variety of reasons, among them 
Swatantra's non-Hindu appeal in some states. 

81 P. S. Krishnaswamy, a founder of Swatantra in Coimbatore district, 
resigned, complaining about a policy of indiscriminate alliances under- 
taken by Swatantra. Munshi's distress is evident in Swarajya, 25 Sept. 

82 Based on interviews. 

83 Based on correspondence and newspaper accounts cited in the dis- 
cussion of Ramgarh in chapter 7. 

84 Based on interviews. 

85 Based on interviews and on the following accounts: Indian Affairs 
Record, Jan. i960 (Swatantra-RRP merger talks); Link, 14 Feb. i960 
(merger talks); Link, 25 Sept. i960 (merger effort by the late Bhinai, then 
a Swantantrite, formerly a member of the RRP and Sangh, at a Rajasthan 
Rajput meeting); TI, 3 Aug. 1961 (unity conference, including RRP, 
Swatantra, Jan Sangh, Hindu Mahasabha, and the Ganatantra Parishad, 
called by Karapatri of RRP). 

86 Based on TI, 8 Aug. 1965, and correspondence. 


Notes, pp. 212-244 

87 Link, 4 Sept. i960; 8 May 1961; 5 June i960; and 27 March 1960, 
respectively, for these fragments. 

88 Link, 22 May i960. 

89 Link, 17 Jan. i960. 

90 Based on a wide variety of interviews with interested parties and on 
personal observation at meetings where the matter was discussed. The 
attention to Vyas as a possible Chief Minister stemmed in part from 
Dungarpur's insistence that he had ' had his innings ' as a serious politician 
and that under no circumstances would he assume the chief minister- 

91 Based on interviews. 

92 See Link, 3 April i960, for the first two cases, and Link, 3 July i960, 
for the last. 

93 Based on correspondence with Swatantra leaders in Madras. This is 
not a one-way street, as we have seen. In Bihar, in 1964, the first Swatantra 
nominee for the Rajya Sabha did not get elected, even though the party 
had ample strength in the assembly. 

94 This discussion is based on interviews and on discussions at 
Swatantra Party meetings which the author was permitted to attend. 
Masani was at his most persuasive best in trying to get Dungarpur to visit 
Sampurnanand, and Dungarpur finally acquiesced, reluctantly. I have not 
yet received a report that Dungarpur has actually paid such a visit. We 
have already seen that in the south, the Brahmin/non-Brahmin split is 
involved in Swatantra relations with the DMK; but it should also be 
noted that many historic cleavages have been overcome, e.g. as between 
some of the Justiceites and the Brahmins. Even in Rajasthan, the situation 
was not completely hopeless. Swatantra did work with Vyas and Shastri to 
a limited extent, and Dungarpur has said upon occasion that he would not 
be averse to supporting Sukhadia in some sort of coalition ministry. 

95 Questionnaires were returned by almost all leading Swatantrites, 
both national and state. In some cases where they were not returned, 
interviews elicited much the same information; and in some cases, 
follow-up interviews were used to explore certain points. Not very sur- 
prisingly, when asked in the questionnaire which leading Congressmen 
were closest to Swatantra in outlook, S. K. Patil was named most often, 
with Hanumanthaya and Mahtab next. These three were mentioned very 
frequently, with little variations in terms of the state from which the 
respondent came. The others mentioned were generally lesser Congress- 
men and were very heavily weighted in terms of the state from which the 
respondent came. In very few cases was anyone at a loss to name at least 
two or three state ministers among the 'fellow-travelling' Swatantrites. 
Patil is very much pro-private enterprise, Hanumanthaya and Mahtab 
more 'old warriors' who look upon themselves as Gandhians. 

96 Based on interviews on 1962. 

97 Based on correspondence and in interviews, 1966. 

98 Kothari, AS, iv, 1 161-73. 

99 A number of examples of such efforts have been noted already, and in 
the pre- 1 967 election period there was strenuous activity along these lines. 


Notes, pp. 245-260 

100 Based on party files, interviews, and correspondence. 

101 Based on interviews and correspondence. 

102 Based on interviews and correspondence. 

103 Based on interviews and correspondence. 

104 Where these parties have any support, Swatantra has negotiated 
with them, as with the RRP in Rajasthan. One MP and some ML As from 
the RRP in Rajasthan have joined Swatantra. 

105 SN, no. 20, 9 July 1961 . This was, of course, prior to the first general 
elections in which Swatantra contested. 

106 See Link, 6 March i960. As far as I have been able to ascertain, 
Swatantra gave no help to Jan Sangh General-Secretary Upadhyaya in the 
Jaunpur by-election in 1963. There was, in any event, serious opposition 
among top Swatantra leaders to the giving of such help. 

107 From an interview. 

108 Based on interviews and on observation of assembly and Swatantra 
Party meetings in Rajasthan. 

109 Rajaji made his suggestion at the Bangalore convention of Swatan- 
tra in 1964. For Kripalani, see Swarajya, 6, 13 and 20 July 1963, and for a 
comparable effort by Munshi, see HT, 3 June 1963. 

CHAPTER 10, pp. 245-260 

1 Kalman Silvert (ed.), Expectant Peoples (New York, Random House, 
1963), introduction. 

2 Rupert Emerson, From Empire to Nation (Cambridge, Harvard Uni- 
versity Press, i960). 

3 Government and Politics, ch. 2. 

4 AS, iv, 1 1 16-73. 

5 Harrison, Dangerous Decades, and Shils, The Intellectual Between 
Tradition and Modernity. 

6 As in the work of the Rudolphs, Morris- Jones, Weiner, and Kothari 
and Maru, among others. 

7 AS, iv, 1 161-73. 

8 Government and Politics, p. 160. See also Weiner, MS. 

9 For Harrison, see Dangerous Decades. 

10 Implicity rejecting Kothari's contention that the Congress 'system' 
is satisfactorily democratic. 

11 Swarajya, 22 May 1965. 

12 These include the position of the president vis-a-vis Cabinet and 
Parliament, the proposed amalgamation of the offices of law minister and 
attorney-general, the use of preventive detention, the continuation of the 
state of emergency after the Chinese invasion in 1962, the possible role 
of an Ombudsman, and the utilization of a non-partisan board to assign 
permits and licence to private enterprise. 

13 These were published by both the central office and the parlia- 
mentary office, almost exclusively in English. 

14 The question of balance is inherent in Morris-Jones' approach, 
Government and Politics, ch. 2. 


Notes, pp. 245-260 

15 Ibid. 

16 See Silvert (ed.) Expectant Peoples, introduction. 

17 Modern Review, cv, 6 (June I959)> 434> and OHT, 11 June 1959, 
both claim that Rajaji wanted to call the party 'conservative'. The PSP 
periodical Janata, 17 Jan. 1960, refers to the formation of a 'Conservative 
Party' under Rajaji's leadership, although by that time, of course, the 
name Swatantra had been firmly fixed. Kabir, India Quarterly, xvi, 8, 
argues that 'conservative' would have been disastrous. We have already 
quoted Rajaji's view that a 'party on the right' is necessary to give 
expression to 'the pain involved' in the 'dislocation, disturbance, and 
distress' which every change 'necessarily' produces. 

18 Swarajya, 18 April 1959. 

19 TI, 4 June 1959. See also Modern Review, cv, 6 (June 1959), 434. 

20 From the General Secretary's Report, Swatantra Party candidate's 
convention, Bombay, 7 and 8 April 1962, p. 5. My emphasis. 

21 Modern Review, cv, 6 (June 1959), 435. 

22 See above, chapter 5. 

23 Party Politics in India (Ahmedabad, Harold Laski Institute, 1962), 
p. 19. The statement was originally made at a party convention and was 
repeated in an address at the Harold Laski Institute, which published the 
address under the above title. 

24 From his Report, candidates' convention, 1962, p. 6. 

25 Ibid. p. 5. 

26 The Congress Path to Communism, pp. 10-11. 

27 For some fairly typical partisan views, see H. D. Malaviya, The 
Swatantra Party: Its Real Character and Designs (New Delhi, Socialist 
Congressman, n.d.), and N. C. Zamindar, Congress Refuted (Indore, 
Sahityalaya, 1962). Zamindar is not the most able spokesman, but he is 
earnest. For more sober fare, see Why Swatantra? 

28 Vincent Starzinger, Middlingness (Charlottesville, Va., University of 
Virginia Press, 1966), provides an analysis of nineteenth-century French 
and British developments. 

29 Weiner, Party Politics, argues, for example, that the radical right has a 
future, based largely on uprooted rural people, displaced artisans, and 
others adversely affected by the process of social change. The Rudolphs, 
' Political Role ', PA, xxxni, 5, argue that conflict in India ' has generally 
been dealt with less by confrontation of adversaries, struggle and decision, 
than by compartmentalization, absorption, and synthesis'. The con- 
figuration of right-wing forces depends very much on arguments such as 
these, on international developments, and on so many imponderables that 
speculation on the subject would be little more than a very lengthy 
catalogue of 'if. . .then' propositions. 

30 Nehru, conclusion. 


Notes, pp. 261-268 

APPENDIX I, pp. 261-268 

i President Radhakrishnan's 1967 Republic Day address is a good case 
in point. 

2 E.g. the language issue in Madras, ground-nut policy in Gujarat. 

3 In addition to those who entered active politics for the first time, 
there were others who abandoned the Congress. The once-faithful Birla 
family allegedly divided its politicial contributions equally among the 
Congress, Swatantra and the Jan Sangh. Among the aristocrats, the 
Rajmata of Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) left the Congress and spearheaded 
the complete rout of the Congress in the former Gwalior region of 
Madhya Pradesh; and the Maharaja of Bharatpur, whose ambitions were 
similarly frustrated by the state (Rajasthan) Congress unit, contested for 
the Lok Sabha as an independent and won an overwhelming victory. 
Other examples could easily be cited. 

4 E.g. the Jana Congress (Orissa), the Bangla Congress (Bengal), the 
Kerala Congress (Kerala), among others. 

5 There was, as usual, the possibility that some would rejoin the parent 

6 Swatantra, although a leader in this effort, was by no means alone. 
There were very broad and stable anti-Congress fronts in Kerala, Bengal, 
and Madras, in particular. 

7 Ramgarh, having been admitted into the Congress, was dissatisfied 
with the treatment he and his followers received in candidate selection and 
defected. With some dissident Congressmen, he helped to form the Jan 
Kranti Dal (Peoples' Revolutionary Party), which is now a partner in the 
coalition ministry in Bihar. Swatantra tried to carry on in Bihar but was 
completely routed. 

8 This was evident both in candidate selection and in the premature 
consideration of the constitution of the Gujarat ministry. 

9 Some Orissa dissidents formed a rump Swatantra party, while in 
Gujarat, dissidents generally fought as independents. The Gujarat dis- 
sidents came primarily from aristocratic-dominated areas of Kutch, 
Saurashtra, and Panchmahals. 

10 E.g. Piloo Mody's candidacy from Panchmahals in Gujarat was 
largely in the hands of H. H. Devgadh-Baria; Dandekar's campaign in 
Jamnagar owed much to the support of the Thakur of Dhrol; etc. In the 
first case, most observers and party leaders agreed that the dissidents did not 
demand much — only considerate treatment and some consultation before 
major decisions were taken; but even this was not readily forthcoming. 

11 In terms of the problems of finance, as discussed in the main part of 
the book, there were other important issues. The Birla money was speci- 
fically earmarked for Birla candidates in Rajasthan, and much money was 
given directly to the state units, rather than being funnelled through the 
central office. This made it more difficult to finance resource-poor state units 
and it weakened Masani's position somewhat as he confronted state units. 

12 There was a more restricted and informal understanding with the 
Janata Paksha in Mysore. 


Notes, pp. 261-268 

13 There was persistent fear that the Jan Sangh would work sub rosa to 
subvert Masani's position and to keep him out of the Lok Sabha. During 
the campaign, the charge was also made that Masani was a beef-eater and 
many Swatantra leaders felt that this was raised primarily by the RSS 
men in Rajkot, who were allegedly working on Masani's behalf. Elsewhere 
in Gujarat, the feeling was that the understanding with the Jan Sangh did 
Swatantra more harm than good. 

14 The Andhra unit was particularly active in reaching understandings 
with the Communists. 

15 Kalahandi was the leader of the group in favour of the demand for a 
ban on cow-slaughter. The opposition was led by the Bombay City 
representatives but they had much support from other regions. The 
Gujarat and Madras units were foremost in their advocacy of a ban on 
cow- slaughter, and even many people who had no sympathy for such a 
move felt that it was an exploitable issue. Hence, there was great dis- 
appointment in many quarters when the cow-slaughter fasts-unto-death 
were terminated. 

16 Representatives of the central office uniformly deplored these actions 
but felt they were absolutely indispensable for electoral success. 

17 Many national leaders quietly expressed the hope that Swatantra 
would not form ministries in these states, and, for example, most pro- 
Swatantra businessmen in Baroda hoped for a Congress ministry in that 

18 Candidates were generally very closely screened; central office con- 
tributions were made contingent upon the submission of periodic reports 
of work and adequate accounting of expenditures; and the Lok Sabha 
candidates were authorized to arrange disbursement of funds to their 
assembly candidates as they saw fit. 

19 The Gujarat case is notable in that many of the businessmen were 

20 As noted, Mody in Panchmahals and Dandekar in Jamnagar re- 
ceived much help, as did Masani in Rajkot and most of the Lok Sabha 
candidates in Rajasthan. 

21 This is in terms of seats gained. In terms of percentage of total vote 
for Lok Sabha candidates by state, Swatantra recorded losses in Bihar, 
UP, Andhra and Madras, although in the last two states the number of 
seats increased (which discrepancy is to be explained in terms of more 
limited efforts). In terms of votes per contested seat, Swatantra recorded 
a significant improvement in aggregate terms. In terms of its major states, 
its votes per contested seat dropped only in Bihar and remained constant 
in UP. By this last index, notable gains were recorded in Gujarat, Rajas- 
than, Orissa, Andhra, Madras, and Mysore. 

22 The losses in Bihar were expected — no Lok Sabha seats and only 
four assembly seats — although with greater concentration of effort, one or 
two Lok Sabha seats might have been gained. UP, where a major effort 
was made, was the biggest disappointment, as one sitting MP declined to 
stand and another lost his deposit, as part of a general rout. 

23 This again is in terms of seats gained. As before, there is considerable 


Notes, pp. 261-268 

variation in terms of percentage of vote and votes per contested seat. 
Thus, in Gujarat and Rajasthan, Swatantra showed increases in number of 
seats, percentage of votes, and votes per contested seat; while in Madras 
and Mysore, its percentage of the vote declined but there were marked 
gains in the other two respects. According to available figures, its poll 
percentage in Andhra remained nearly constant, but it gained more seats 
and nearly doubled its votes per contested seat. Only a detailed analysis 
using all of these indices, together with factors such as regional concen- 
tration of seats, votes, etc., would provide an accurate measure of Swa- 
tantra's quantitative and qualitative performance. 

24 E.g. approximately half of Swatantra's MLAs in Rajasthan come 
from Jaipur division. 

25 As noted, there was a limited and informal understanding with the 
Janata Paksha, which, according to Swatantra national leaders, played 
some role in Swatantra's victories. 

26 Relations between Rajaji and Annadorai, the DMK leader, have been 
quite cordial; and, according to one report, Rajaji said 'leave Madras to 
me; the last act of my life will be to convert the DMK into the Madras 
unit of the Swatantra Party'. A proposed Swatantra-DMK bloc in the 
Lok Sabha nearly came to fruition; but difficulties at the state level have, 
for the moment, laid this to rest. 

27 Ranga was defeated in the general election but is standing in a by- 

28 E.g. the Maharani of Jaipur was defeated in her assembly contest, 
although she won her Lok Sabha seat comfortably; and Himmatsinhji of 
Kutch lost his Lok Sabha seat. In the weeks following the 1967 elections 
there has already been much talk of developing a Swatantra counterpart 
to the RSS cadres, which sounds a bit far-fetched. However there is 
widespread realization that if Swatantra is to hold its own, it must develop 
some cadres. But as one Swatantra leader put it, in discussing this need: 
'What do we substitute for the emotional issues which give strength to 
the RSS and the Jan Sangh?' Others feel that the party does not require 
a band of zealous workers, such as the RSS, but needs only to put its con- 
ventional party apparatus on a sounder footing. Even this will be difficult 
to achieve in many areas, but it will be easier to accomplish than to build 
an RSS counterpart. 

29 In addition to huge gains in UP and Madhya Pradesh, the Jan Sangh 
improved its position in Rajasthan and made a good start in Bihar. It also 
did extremely well in Delhi. Most Jan Sangh leaders obviously want the 
party to develop on its own and to make an even stronger effort in 1972, 
without undue attention to the Swatantra Party. However, talks of a 
united front in Parliament and of complete merger have taken place, and 
Balraj Madhok seems quite responsive to the idea of a merger. The united 
front in the Lok Sabha was discussed immediately after the elections, but 
Swatantra's terms were unacceptable to the Jan Sangh. Swatantra in- 
sisted, for example, that the leader and chief whip of the group be from 
the largest party in any front, and that on all issues on which the members 
of the front could not agree, everyone should have a free vote (i.e. indi- 


Notes, pp. 261-268 

vidual parties could not issue whips to their own members). In the nego- 
tiations, the DMK was also involved, and together the three parties would 
have formed a group of approximately one hundred members. 
30 In Rajasthan, the Congress was by far the largest single party but it 
still fell a few seats short of an absolute majority. Both the Congress and 
the united opposition claimed a majority, including independents, defec- 
tors from the others' ranks, etc. When, after some rather inept efforts to 
ascertain who should be invited to form the ministry, Governor Sampur- 
nanand turned to the Congress, there were serious public disturbances in 
Jaipur, including several deaths and much destruction of property Swa- 
tantra leaders in Rajasthan claim that they did not want to get involved in 
the public demonstrations but that they had to, to avoid leaving the field 
to the Jan Sangh and the SSP, both of which were very happy to take to 
the streets. Anticipating new elections in Rajasthan within a short time, 
Swatantra leaders felt that they had to involve themselves in the ' demo- 
cratic protest ' against Sampurnanand's decision. Finally, President's Rule 
was declared, although the assembly was only suspended, not dissolved. 



This bibliography is primarily a list of materials used in the preparation 
of the book, with several additions to provide further background on some 
points, etc. The listing is divided into six parts : (i) general background — 
works used in connection with discussions of conservatism and political 
development; (2) Indian background; (3) post-independence politics, 
with the emphasis on parties and elections; (4) Swatantra bibliography, 
mainly works by or about Swatantra leaders; (5) publications of the 
Swatantra Party; and (6) publications of the Forum of Free Enter- 
prise. A note on interviews and questionnaire respondents appears at the 

Three points should be noted. First, books and articles have been 
listed together. Secondly, the inclusion of an item in one section rather 
than another has in some cases been quite arbitrary; and, for example, 
pieces authored by Masani appear in parts 4, 5, and 6, due to circum- 
stances of publication. Thirdly, Indian editions of some works have been 
used, and, as in the case of Weiner's Politics of Scarcity, pagination 
differs from English and American editions. 


Almond, Gabriel, and James Coleman (eds.) The Politics of the Developing 

Areas. Princeton, Princeton University Press, i960. 
Dobb, Maurice. Studies in the Development of Capitalism. New York, 

International Publishers, 1963. 
Duverger, Maurice. Political Parties. Trans. Robert and Barbara North. 

London, Methuen, 1954. 
Emerson, Rupert. From Empire to Nation. Cambridge, Harvard University 

Press, i960. 
Friedrich, Carl J. Constitutional Government and Democracy. Revised edn. 

Boston, Ginn and Co., 1950. 
Huntington, Samuel P. 'Conservatism as an Ideology', American 

Political Science Review, Li, 2 (June 1957). 
Mannheim, Karl. Essays on Sociology and Social Psychology. Ed. Paul 

Kecskemeti. New York, Oxford University Press, 1953. 
Ideology and Utopia. Trans. Louis Wirth and Edward Shils. New 

York, Harvest Books, n.d. 
Mansfield, Harvey, Jr. Statesmanship and Party Government. Chicago, 

University of Chicago Press, 1965. 
Michels, Roberto. ' Conservatism', Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, iv. 

New York, Macmillan, 1937. 
Moore, Barrington, Jr. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy. 

Boston, Beacon Press, 1966. 
Oakeshott, Michael. Rationalism and Politics. New York, Basic Books, 




Rogger, Hans, and Eugen Weber (eds.). The European Right. Berkeley, 

University of California Press, 1965. 
Silvert, Kalman (ed.). Expectant Peoples. New York, Random House, 


< Some Psychocultural Factors in the Politics of Conflict and Concilia- 
tion', mimeo, read before the American Political Science Association, 
8-1 1 Sept. 1965. 

Starzinger, Vincent. Middlingness. Charlottesville, University of Virginia 
Press, 1965. 

Ulam, Adam B. The Unfinished Revolution. New York, Random House, 

Viereck, Peter (ed.). Conservatism. Princeton, Van Norstrand, 1956. 


Alexandrowicz, Charles H. Constitutional Developments in India. London, 

Oxford University Press, 1957. 
Anstey, Vera. The Economic Development of India. 4th edn. London, 

Longmans, Green, 1957- 
Baden-Powell, B. H. The Origin and Growth of Village Communities in 

India. London, Swan, Sonnenschein, 1908. 
Bailey, F. G. Caste and the Economic Frontier. Manchester, University of 

Manchester Press, 1957. 
Tribe, Caste, and Nation. Manchester, University of Manchester 

Press, i960. 
Baldwin, George B. Industrial Growth in South India. Glencoe, 111., Free 

Press, 1959- 
Barton, Sir William. The Princes of India. London, Nisbet, 1934. 
Basham, A. L. The Wonder that was India. New York, Grove Press, 

Basu, Durga Das. Commentary on the Constitution of India. 3rd edn. 

2 vols. Calcutta, Sarkar, 1955. 
Basu, Saroj Kumar. Industrial Finance in India. Calcutta, University of 

Calcutta, 1940. 
Beidelman, Thomas O. A Comparative Analysis of the Jajmani System. 

Locust Valley, N.Y., J. J. Augustin, 1959. 
Bendix, Reinhard. Max Weber: An Intellectual Portrait. Garden City, 

N.Y., Doubleday, i960. 
Birla, G. D. In the Shadow of the Mahatma. Bombay, Orient Longmans, 

Buchanan, Daniel. The Development of Capitalist Enterprise in India. New 

York, Macmillan, 1934. 
Carstairs, G. Morris. The Twice-Born. Bloomington, University of 

Indiana Press, I95 8 - 
Chatterjee, Rabindranath. Indian Economics. 7th edn. revised Krishna 

Ch. Roy Chowdhury. Calcutta, Chatterjee and Co., 1959. 
Chaudhuri, S. B. Civil Rebellion in the Indian Mutinies. Calcutta, World 

Press, 1957. 

22 341 ESP 


Coupland, Reginald. India: A Restatement. London, Oxford University 

Press, 1945. 
The Indian Problem. 3 vols in 1, London, Oxford University Press, 

1944. Originally published as (1) The Indian Problem 1833-1935; 

(2) Indian Politics 1936-1942; (3) The Future of India. 
Crane, Robert I. Aspects of Economic Development in South Asia. New 

York, Institute of Pacific Relations, 1954. 
Curran, J. A. Militant Hinduism in Indian Politics: A Study of the R.S.S. 

New York, Institute of Pacific Relations, 1951. 
Darling, Sir Malcolm. The Punjab Peasant in Prosperity and Debt. 4th 

edn. London, Oxford University Press, 1947. 
Das, Nagbopal. Industrial Enterprise in India. London, Oxford University 

Press, 1938. 
Desai, A. R. Recent Trends in Indian Nationalism. Bombay, Popular 

Book Depot, i960. 
Social Background of Indian Nationalism. 3rd edn. Bombay, 

Popular Book Depot, 1959. 
Deshmukh, C. D. Economic Developments in India 1946-1956. Bombay, 

Asia Publishing House, 1957. 
Drekmeier, Charles. Kingship and Community in Ancient India. Stanford, 

Stanford University Press, 1962. 
Dube, S. C. India's Changing Villages. London, Routledge and Kegan 

Paul, 1958. 
Dutt, R. Palme. India Today. London, Gollancz, 1940. 

India Today and Tomorrow. London, Lawrence and Wishart, 1955. 

Embree, Ainslie (ed.). 1857 in India. Boston, D.C., Heath, 1963. 
Epstein, T. Scarlett. Economic Development and Social Change in South 

India. New York, Oxford University Press, 1962. 
Fitze, Sir Kenneth. Twilight of the Maharajas. London, John Murray, 1956. 
Gadgil, D. R. The Industrial Evolution of India in Recent Times. 4th edn. 

London, Oxford University Press, 1944. 
Origins of the Modern Indian Business Class. New York, Institute of 

Pacific Relations, 1959. 
Gandhi, M. K. Economic and Industrial Life and Relations, ed. V. B. 

Kher. 3 vols. Ahmedabad, Navajivan Press, 1957. 
— — The Indian States Problem. Ahmedabad, Navajivan Press, 1941. 
Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics. Notes on the Rise of the 

Business Communities in India. New York, Institute of Pacific Relations, 

Griffiths, Sir Percival. Modern India. London, Ernest Benn, 1957. 
Harijans Today. Delhi, Publications Division, Ministry of Information 

and Broadcasting, 1955. 
Hutton, J. H. Caste in India. Bombay, Oxford University Press, 1961. 
Indian Round Table Conference, First and Second Sessions: Proceedings. 

London, His Majesty's Stationery Office, 193 1 and 1932. 
Isaacs, Harold. India's Ex-Untouchables. New York, John Day, 1965. 
Karunakaran, K. P. (ed.). Modern Indian Political Tradition. New Delhi, 

Allied Publishers, 1962. 



Keer, Dhananjay. Dr Ambedkar: His Life and Mission. Bombay, A. V. 

Keer, 1954. 

Savarkar and His Times. Bombay, A. V. Keer, 1950. 

Kothari, Vithaldas (ed.). Why Khadi and Village Industries? Ahmedabad, 

Navajivan Press, 1957. 
Kumarappa, Bharatan. Capitalism, Socialism, or Villagism? Madras, 

Shakti Karyalayam, 1946. 
Lamb, Helen. ' The Indian Business Communities and the Evolution of an 

Industrial Class', Pacific Affairs, xxviii, 2 (June 1955). 
Landy, Joan B. ' Factors in the Rise of the Parsi Community in India ', 

unpublished B.A. honours' thesis. Cambridge, Radcliffe College, 1962. 
McMunn, Sir George. The Indian States and Princes. London, Jarrolds, 

Malaviya, H. D. Land Reforms in India. New Delhi, All-India Congress 

Committee, 1954. 
Marriott, McKim (ed.). Village India. Chicago, University of Chicago 

Press, 1955. 
Mehta, M. M. Combination Movement in Indian Industry. Allahabad, 

Friends' Book Depot, 1952. 
Misra, B. B. The Indian Middle Classes. New York, Oxford University 

Press, 1 96 1. 
Moreland, W. H. The Agrarian System of Moslem India. Cambridge, 

Heffer, 1929. 

India at the Death of Akbar. London, Macmillan, 1920. 

Naik, V. N. Indian Liberalism. Bombay, Padma, 1945. 

Nair, Kusum. Blossoms in the Dust. New York, Praeger, 1962. 

Nanavati, Manilal, and C. N. Vakil (eds.). Group Prejudices in India. 

Bombay, Vora, 1951. 
Nanda, B. R. Mahatma Gandhi. London, George Allen and Unwin, 

Narain, Brij. Charkha Marxism: Indian Socialism. Lahore, Rama Krishna, 

Nehru, Jawaharlal. Towards Freedom. Boston, Beacon Press, 1958. 
O'Malley, L. S. S. India's Social Heritage. London, Oxford University 

Press, 1934. 
Popular Hinduism: The Religion of the Masses. New York, Macmillan, 

Panikkar, K. M. Common Sense About India. London, Gollancz, i960. 

Indian Princes in Council. London, Oxford University Press, 1936. 

Indian States and the Government of India. London, Martin Hopkin- 

son, 1932. 

The State and the Citizen. Bombay, Asia Publishing House, 1956. 

Panjabi, Kewal L. The Indomitable Sardar. Bombay, Bharatiya Vidya 

Bhavan, 1964. 
Parikh, Narhari D. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. 2 vols. Trans, not named. 

Ahmedabad, Navajivan Press, 1953 and 1956. 
Patel, Govindlal D. The Indian Land Problem and Legislation. Bombay, 

N. M. Tripathi, 1954. 

343 22 " 2 


Patel, Surendra J. Agricultural Labourers in Modern India and Pakistan. 

Bombay, Current Book House, 1952. 
Rao, Baditha Srinivasa. Surveys of Indian Industries. 2 vols. London, 

Oxford University Press, 1957. 
Retzlaff, Ralph. Village Government in India. New York, Asia Publishing 

House, 1962. 
Savarkar, V. D. Hindu Rashtra Darshan. Bombay, L. G. Khare, 1949. 
Schuster, George, and Guy Wint. India and Democracy. London, 

Macmillan, 1951. 
Sen, Surendra Nath. Eighteen-Fifty- Seven. Delhi, Publications Division, 

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, 1957. 
Shils, Edward. The Intellectual Between Tradition and Modernity: The 

Indian Case. The Hague, Mouton, 1961. 
Singer, Milton, ' The Religion of India : The Sociology of Hinduism and 

Buddhism (Max Weber)', American Anthropologist , lxi, 1 (Feb. 1961). 
— — (ed.). Traditional India: Structure and Change. Philadelphia, 

American Folklore Society, 1959. 
Singh, Ranbir. The Indian States Under the Government of India Act, 193 5- 

Bombay, Taraporevala, n.d. 
Sitaramayya, B. Pattabhi. The History of the Indian National Congress. 

Ahmedabad, Congress Working Committee, 1935. 
Spencer, Daniel. India: Mixed Enterprise and Western Business. The 

Hague, Martinus Nijhoff, 1959. 
Srinivas, M. N. Caste in Modern India and Other Essays. New York, Asia 

Publishing House, 1962. 
(ed.). India's Villages. 2nd edn. Bombay, Asia Publishing House, 

Stokes, Eric. The English Utilitarians in India. London, Oxford University 

Press, 1959. 
Thorner, Daniel. The Agrarian Prospect in India. Delhi, Delhi University, 

Tod, James. Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan. 2 vols. London, Rout- 
ledge and Kegan Paul, 1957. 
Venkatasubbiah, H. Indian Economy Since Independence. New York, Asia 

Publishing House, 1961. 
Wadia, P. A., and K. T. Merchant. The Bombay Plan — A Criticism. 

Bombay, Popular Book Depot, 1945. 
Weber, Max. The City. Trans. Don Martindale and Gertrud Neuwirth. 

New York, Collier, 1962. 
The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism. 

Trans, and ed. Hans Gerth and Don Martindale. Glencoe, 111., Free 

Press, 1958. 
Wiser, William E. The Hindu Jajmani System. Lucknow, Lucknow 

Publishing House, 1936. 
Woodruff, Philip. The Men Who Ruled India. 2 vols. London, Jonathan 

Cape, 1953 and 1954. 
Zinkin, Taya. Caste Today. New York, Oxford University Press, 1958. 
India Changes! New York, Oxford University Press, 1958. 




Ali, Sadiq. The General Elections 1957. New Delhi, All-India Congress 
Committee, 1959. 

Ayyar, R. V. Krishna, et al. (eds.). All-India Election Guide. Madras, 
Oriental Publishers, 1956. 

Bailey, F. G. Politics and Social Change: Orissa 1959. London, Oxford 
University Press, 1963. 

'Politics in Orissa. ' Nine parts. Economic Weekly (Aug.-Nov. 1959). 

Beteille, Andre. Caste, Class, and Power. Berkeley, University of Cali- 
fornia Press, 1965. 

Brass, Paul. Factional Politics in an Indian State. Berkeley, University of 
California Press, 1965. 

Brecher, Michael. Nehru: A Political Biography. New York, Oxford Uni- 
versity Press, 1959. 

Succession in India. London, Oxford University Press, 1966. 

daCosta, E. P. W. ' Indian Politics Today and Tomorrow — Assessment 
and Prophecy', Far Eastern Economic Review, xxvn, 5 (4 Feb. i960). 

Dean, Vera M. New Patterns of Democracy in India. Cambridge, Harvard 
University Press, 1959. 

Election Commission (India). Report on the First General Elections in India 
1951-1952. 2 vols. Delhi, Manager of Publications, Government of 
India, 1955. 

Report on the Second General Elections in India 1957. 2 vols. Delhi, 

Manager of Publications, Government of India, 1959. 

Report on the Third General Elections in India 1962. 2 vols. Delhi, 

Manager of Publications, Government of India, 1963. 
Harrison, Selig. India: The Most Dangerous Decades. Princeton, Princeton 

University Press, i960. 
Kabir, Humayun. 'Congress Ideology', India Quarterly, xvi, 1 (Jan.- 

March i960). 
Karaka, D. F. Morarji. Bombay, Times of India Press, 1965. 
Kogekar, S. V., and Richard Park (eds.). Reports on the Indian General 

Elections 1951-52. Bombay, Popular Book Depot, 1956. 
Kothari, Rajni. 'The Congress "System" in India', Asian Survey, iv, 12 

(Dec. 1964). 
and Rushikesh Maru. 'Caste and Secularism in India', Journal of 

Asian Studies, xxv, 1 (Nov. 1965). 
Maheshwari, Shri Ram. The General Election in India. Allahabad, Chai- 

tanya, 1963. 
Mehta, Asok. The Political Mind of India. Bombay, Praja Socialist Party, 

Menon, V. P. The Story of the Integration of the Indian States. Bombay, 

Orient Longmans, 1961. 
Ministry of States (India). White Paper on Indian States. Delhi, Govern- 
ment of India, 1950. 
Mookerjee, H. C. Congress and the Masses. Calcutta, Book House, n.d. 
Moraes, Frank. India Today. New York, Macmillan, i960. 



Moraes, Frank. Jawarharlal Nehru. Bombay, Jaico, 1959. 

Morris-Jones, W. H. Government and Politics of India. London, Hutchin- 
son University Library, 1964. 

Parliament in India. Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania 

Press, 1957. 

Overstreet, Gene D. 'The Hindu Code Bill', Cases in Comparative 
Politics, ed. James B. Christoph. Boston, Little, Brown, 1965. 

Palmer, Norman. 'India Faces a New Decade', Current History, XL, 235 
(March 1961). 

The Indian Political System. Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1961. 

Park, Richard L., and Irene Tinker (eds.). Leadership and Political Institu- 
tions in India. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1959. 

Pathak, Devavrat, M. G. Parekh and Kirtidev Desai. Three General 
Elections in Gujarat. Ahmedabad, Gujarat University, 1966. 

Philips, C. H. (ed.). Politics and Society in India. New York, Praeger, 

Poplai, S. L. (ed.). National Politics and the 1957 Elections in India. 
Delhi, Metropolitan Book Co., 1957. 

(ed.). 1962 General Elections in India. Bombay, Allied Publishers, 1962. 

Robson, William A. 'India Revisited', The Political Quarterly, xxxi, 4 
(Oct.-Dec. i960). 

Rosen, George. Democracy and Economic Change in India. Berkeley, 
University of California Press, 1965. 

Rudolph, Lloyd I. ' Urban Life and Populist Radicalism ', Journal of Asian 
Studies, xx, 3 (May 1961). 

Rudolph, Susanne H. ' Consensus and Conflict in Indian Politics ', World 
Politics, xiii, 3 (April 1961). 

— 'The Princely States of Rajputana: Ethic, Authority and Structure', 
Indian Journal of Political Science, xxiv, 1 (Jan.-March 1963). 

Some Aspects of Congress Land Reform Policy. Cambridge, Massa- 
chusetts Institute of Technology, Center for International Studies, 1957. 

MS on Rajasthan. Mimeo. Revised and forthcoming as in second 

entry following. 
Rudolph, Lloyd I. and Susanne H. The Modernity of Tradition: Political 

Development in India. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1967. 
— — The Political in Social Change: Princes and Politicians in Rajasthan. 

' The Political Role of India's Caste Associations ', Pacific Affairs, 

xxxiii, 1 (March i960). 

Toward Political Stability in Underdeveloped Countries: The 

Case of India', Public Policy, no. 9, ed. Carl J. Friedrich and Seymour 

Harris. Cambridge, Harvard University Graduate School of Public 

Administration, 1959. 
Sheean, Vincent. Nehru: The Years of Power. New York, Random House, 

Singh, Hari Kishore. A History of the Praja Socialist Party. Lucknow, 

Narendra Prakashan, 1959. 



'Third General Elections', Asian Recorder (30 April-6 May 1962). 

Tinker, Hugh. India and Pakistan. New York, Praeger, 1962. 

Weiner, Myron. 'India's Third General Elections', Asian Survey , 11, 

5 (May 1962). 
Party Building in a New Nation: The Indian National Congress. 


Party Politics in India. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1957. 

Politics of Scarcity. Bombay, Asia Publishing House, 1962. 

' Traditional Role Performance and the Development of Modern 

Political Parties : The Indian Case ', Journal of Politics, xxvi, 4 (Nov. 



Bhailalbhai Patel joth Birthday Souvenir. Vallabh Vidyanagar, Charutar 
Vidyamandal, 1958. 

Bhailalbhai Patel 75th Birthday Souvenir. Vallabh Vidyanagar, Charutar 
Vidyamandal, 1963. 

Dave, J. H. et al. (eds.). Munshi: His Art and Work. 4 vols. Bombay, 
Munshi 70th Birthday Citizens' Celebration Committee, n.d. 

Deo, P. K. (Maharaja of Kalahandi). My Humble Contributions. Cuttack, 
Ganatantra Parishad, 1961. 

Desai, Kirtidev. 'Emergence of the Swatantra Party in Gujarat', Journal 
of the Gujarat Research Society, xxv, 3 (April 1963). 

Erdman, Howard L. 'Chakravarty Rajagopalachari and Indian Con- 
servatism ', Journal of Developing Areas, I, 1 (Oct. 1966). 

'Conservative Politics in India', Asian Survey, vi, 6 (June 1966). 

'The Foreign Policy Views of the Indian "Right",' Pacific Affairs, 

xxxix, 1-2 (Spring-Summer 1966). 
- 'India's Swatantra Party', Pacific Affairs, xxxvi, 4 (winter 1963-4). 
The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism', Ph.D. disserta- 

tion. Cambridge, Harvard University, 1964. 

Felton, Monica. / Meet Rajaji. London, Macmillan, 1962. 

H. M. Patel 60th Birthday Commemoration Volume. Vallabh Vidyanagar, 
Charutar Vidyamandal, 1964. 

Lobo Prabhu, J. M. Draft Third Plan X-Rayed. n.d. 

Industrial Policy. Calcutta, Society for the Propagation of Demo- 
cratic Truth, 1963. 

New Thinking. Bombay, India Book House, 1959. 

Malaviya, H. D. The Swatantra Party: Its Real Character and Designs. 

New Delhi, Socialist Congressman, n.d. 
Masani, M. R. The Communist Party of India. New York, Macmillan, 


Party Politics in India. Ahmedabad, Harold Laski Institute, 1962. 

A Plea for Realism. Bombay, Popular Book Depot, 1957. 

Workers' Participation in Management. Bombay, n.p., 1955. 

Munshi, K. M. Foundations of Indian Culture. Bombay, Bharatiya Vidya 

Bhavan, 1965. 



Munshi, K. M. New Outlook. Lahore, Indian Book Co., 1947. 

Reconstruction of Society Through Trusteeship. Bombay, Bharatiya 

Vidya Bhavan, i960. 
— — The Ruin that Britain Wrought. Bombay, Padma, 1946. 

Warnings of History. Bombay, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1959. 

Zonal Divisions of India. Bombay, Vora, 1945. 

Pasricha, Col. H. R. 'Our Stuporous Society', Quest (April- June 1962). 
Patel, Dahyabhai V. The Second Phase. Bombay, author, n.d. 
Rajagopalachari, C. Ambedkar Refuted. Bombay, Hind Kitabs, 1946. 

The Defense of India. Madras, Rochouse, n.d. 

Hinduism: Doctrine and Way of Life. Bombay, Bharatiya Vidya 

Bhavan, 1964. 
— — Our Culture. Bombay, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1963. 

Our Democracy and Other Essays. Madras, B. G. Paul, 1957. 

— — Plighted Word. Delhi, Servants of Untouchables Society, n.d. 
Prohibition. Madras, Kamala Prachuralayam, 1943. 

RajajTs Speeches. 2 vols. Bombay, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, i960. 
Ranga, N. G. Freedom in Peril. Hyderabad, Indian Peasants' Institute, 


Kisan Speaks. Madras, Kisan Publications, n.d. 

— — Outlines of National Revolutionary Path. Bombay, Hind Kitabs, 1945. 

Revolutionary Peasants. New Delhi, Amrit Book Co., 1949. 

Ruthnaswamy, M. Vote for Swatantra: Why? Palamcottah, Madras, n.d. 
Singh, Gurnam. A Unilingual Punjabi State and the Sikh Unrest. New 

Delhi, author, i960. 
Srinivasan, C. M. Nehru Discovered. Madras, Aiyar, 1961. 
Zamindar, N. C. Congress Refuted. Indore, Sahityalaya, 1962. 
(See also parts 5 and 6) 


Swatantra Party Preparatory Convention. Bombay, Swatantra Party- 
Popular Book Depot, 1959. 

First National Convention (Patna). i960. 

Second National Convention (Agra). 1962. 

Third National Convention (Bangalore). 1964. 

General- Secretary's Report to the Candidates' Convention. Bombay, 
Swatantra Party, 1962. 

General- Secretary's Report on Organisation (for internal circulation only). 
Bombay, Swatantra Party, 1966. 

Swatantra Party Constitution, as revised 1964. 

Swatantra Party Souvenir i960, n.d. 

Swatantra Party Souvenir 1961. Bombay, Swatantra Party, 1961. 

Munshi, K. M. et al. Report of the Swatantra Party Punjab Enquiry Com- 
mittee. Bombay, Swatantra Party, i960. 

Swatantra Newsletter (more or less monthly, for internal circulation only). 
Bombay, Swatantra Party. 



Swatantra in Parliament (erratic, for internal circulation only). Bombay, 
Swatantra Party. 

ELECTION AND GENERAL PROPAGANDA (roughly chronological) 

To Prosperity Through Freedom (1962 election manifesto). 

Towards Doom? (Rajaji). 

Why Swatantra? (Rajaji, Ranga, Munshi, Masani). 

Labour's Friend — Congress or Swatantra? 

What's Wrong With the Third Plan? 

Co-operation or Coercion? 

Social and Religious Decay (Rajaji). 

Who is Outdated? German Social Democrats Echo Swatantra. 

Inflation: Your Personal Enemy. 

The Fight Against Inflation. 

Inflation — Your Hidden Enemy. 

Socialism — An Ism That is Now a Wasm. 

Congress Path to Communism. 

Swatantra Answer to the Chinese Communist Challenge. 

The Fraud of Gold Control. 

Swatantra Alternative to the Third Plan (Ranga, Masani). 

India's Answer to the Chinese Bomb (Masani). 

Swatantra Demands Fair Deal for Public Servants (Dandekar, Kapur Singh). 

Lawless Legislation (ed. A. P. Jain). 

17th Amendment vs. Farm, Family, Freedom. 

Judgment Reserved (Masani, Dandekar). 

The Voice of the People (Masani, Dandekar). 

First Swatantra Budget (Masani). Calcutta, Swatantra Forum, 1965. 

Can India Escape Bankruptcy? (Masani). 

We Accuse! (Deo, Dandekar). 

The Congress Path to National Disaster (Ranga, Gayatri Devi). 

Why I Took To Politics (C. Rai). 

Yet Another Bad Budget (Ranga, Masani, Patel). 

Foreign Capital? Yes! Govt.-to-Govt. Loans? No! (Masani). 

Devaluation — What Next? (Masani). 

Devaluation — The Guilty Men (Masani, Dandekar). 

Why Swatantra Supports Tashkent Agreement? (Patel, Deo). 


'Prohibition: Should It Be Put Into Reverse Gear?' 
' Sino- Indian Relations : A Resume of Latest Developments. ' 
' Colombo Peace-Makers. ' 
' Gold Control. ' 

' The Case of the Attorney- General. ' 
' The Railway Budget. ' 
' Emergency Outstretched. ' 

'Swatantra Party in Parliament: Report of Speeches.' (Now superseded 
by formal publication noted above.) 




Policy Statement, parts I and II. Cuttack, Ganatantra Parishad, 1951. 
Election Manifesto 1961. Bolangir, Ganatantra Parishad, 1961. 


(all Bombay, n.d.) 
Antia, J. M. Sales Tax. 

Bhaba, C. H. The Cult of State Capitalism in India. 
Fazalbhoy, Y. A. The Case for Sponsored Radio. 
Hayek, F. A. Two Essays on Free Enterprise. 
Lobo Prabhu, J. M. Democracy in India. 
Masani, M. R. Economics of Freedom. 
Mathew, T. A Socialist Society Cannot be Democratic. 
Matthai, J. Limits of Nationalisation. 
'An Observer.' Problems of Free Enterprise in India. 
Palkhivala, N. A. A Review of the Finance (No. 2) Bill, 1962. 
Panandikar, S. G. et al. State Trading in a Democracy. 
Rao, B. G. Community Development. 

Ruthnaswamy, M. Towards an Economical Administration in India. 
Shenoy, B. R. Indian Planning and the Common Man. 

The Food Situation and the Common Man. 

Prune the Plan. 

Shroff, A. D. Desperate Proposals. 

An Economic Review — 1957. 

Free Enterprise and Democracy. 

Free Enterprise in India. 

Free Enterprise in India— A Call for Leadership. 

Planning in India. 

The Transport Bottleneck. 

et al. Private Enterprise and Politics. 

Taraporevala, R. J. Wealth and Expenditure Taxes. 
Vaidya, J. Free Enterprise and Freedom. 


The Hindu (Madras), daily. 

The Hindu Weekly Review (Madras). 

The Hindustan Times (Delhi), daily. 

The Overseas Hindustan Times (Delhi), weekly. 

The Indian Express, daily. 

The Times of India (Bombay and New Delhi), daily. 

Blitz (Bombay), weekly. 

The Current (Bombay), weekly. 

Economic Weekly (Bombay). 

Link (Delhi), weekly. 

Insight (Mangalore), weekly. 

Swarajya (Madras), weekly and annual numbers. 

Swatantra (Madras), weekly, predecessor of Swarajya. 




Except where stated to the contrary, all of the interviews listed below took 
place in India between August 1962 to May 1963. Where the person in 
question was interviewed more than once, the number of more or less 
formal interviews is noted; and those with whom the author spent much 
time, over extended periods, have their names in CAPITALS. As it 
would be too cumbersome to indicate in each case the various national and 
state offices held, it will suffice here to note that virtually every major 
national and state office-bearer was interviewed or responded to very 
detailed questionnaires. (By ' national office-bearer ' I do not mean members 
of the Central Organizing Committee/National Executive or the General 
Council, but President, Vice-President, etc.) 


C. Rajagopalachari (3); N. G. Ranga (3); M. R. MASANI (7, includ- 
ing 1966); K. M. Munshi; S. K. D. Paliwal; Raja Kamakhya Narain 
Singh of Ramgarh; Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur (2); Professor M. 
Ruthnaswamy (2); Jathedar Udham Singh Nagoke (through an inter- 
preter); Sir Homy Mody (3, including 1966). 

state office-bearers, et al. (by state) 

Andhra. T. Krishnamma Choudhuri (2); C. L. N. Reddy (2); N. 
Ranga Reddy; N. Sankara Reddy; S. N. Reddy. 

Assam. John Deng (2); Professor Martin Narayan (2). 

Bihar. Raja J. K. P. N. Singh of Maksoodpur; N. Bakshi; P. K. 
Ghosh (2); S. A. Matin. 

Bombay City. Piloo Mody (2); R. V. Murthy (2); Murarji Vaidya; 
Madhu Mehta (4). 

Delhi Pradesh: Col. H. R. PASRICHA (4); A. C. Basiaria. 

Gujarat: Bhailalbhai Patel; Maharaja Jaideepsinhji of Devgadh-Baria 
(3); Maharajkumar Himmatsinhji of Kutch (4); Dahyabhai Patel (2); 
H. M. Patel (1966); Pravinsinh Solanki (4); Narendrasingh Mahida (3); 
NANU B. AMIN (7, including 1966); P. C. Hathi. 

Madhya Pradesh : R. Agnibhoj ; N. C. Zamindar. 

Madras: Saw Ganesan; S. S. MARISWAMY (5): M. SANTOSHAM 
(over 6); T. Sadasivam. 

Mysore: J. M. Lobo Prabhu; V. T. Srinivasan; M. A. Sreenivasan. 

Orissa: Maharaja R. N. Singh Deo of Patna; Maharaja P. K. DEO OF 
KALAHANDI (7, including 1965); Lokanath Misra; Raghunath Misra; 
Harihar Patel; Ghasiram Majhi; G. C. Roy. 

Punjab: Sardar Basant Singh; Sardar Kapur Singh (3); Buta Singh. 

Rajasthan: Maharawal Laxman Singh of Dungarpur (4) ; Maharajkumar 
Jai Singh of Jaipur (2); Raja Man Singh of Bharatpur (3); Devi Singh of 
Mandawa (3, including 1966); Major Thakur RAGHUBIR SINGH OF 
BISSAU (many times, including 1966); Kesri Singh of Pali (3); Ayuwan 
Singh; Lt. Gen. Thakur Nathu Singh of Gumanpura (5, including 1966). 

Uttar Pradesh : Thakur Yashpal Singh. 




Professor R. Bhaskaran (University of Madras); Dr S. P. Aiyar 
(University of Bombay); V. K. Narasimhan (The Hindu)', M. R. Malkani 
(The Organiser, 1961); A. B. Vajpayee (MP, Jan Sangh); Hem Barua and 
S. N. Dwivedy (MPs, PSP); K. Manoharan (MP, DMK); Harekrushna 
Mahtab (MP, Congress); Maharaja P. K. Deo Bhanj of Daspalla (MP, 
Congress, 2, including 1965); C. M. Srinivasan (Madras Forum of Free 
Enterprise) ; among other MPs, journalists, etc. 


Andhra. B. Ramachandra Reddy; C. L. N. Reddy; N. Sankara 
Reddy; P. V. K. Reddy; K. M. Reddy; K. Narasimha Reddy; Y. C. 
Veerabhadra Goud; D. Ramachandra Rao; Lakkaraju Subba Rao. 

Assam. John Deng. 

Bihar. Jaleshwar Prasad; T. P. Bakshi; K. J. N. S. Deo; U. S. Prasad; 
J. Chowdhary; Michael Kujim; Chhatu Turi; P. C. Mahato. 

Bombay City. M. R. Masani; K. M. Munshi; R. V. Murthy; Murarji 

Gujarat. Maharajkumar Himmatsinhji of Kutch; Narendrasingh 
Mahida; Hamirsinhji Jaysinhji Solanki; Lalitmohan Chunilal Gandhi; 
Maganlal B. Joshi. 

Himachal Pradesh. Bishan Singh, Bhagmall Sauhta. 

Kerala. S. S. Koder. 

Madhya Pradesh. H. S. Dwivedy, N. C. Zamindar. 

Madras. M.Ruthnaswamy; K. Sundaram; M. Santosham; S. Narayana- 

Maharashtra. B. B. Walvekar; K. R. Koshti; R. D. Kulkarni. 

Mysore. K. B. Jinraja Hegde; J. M. Lobo Prabhu; J. Mohammed 
Imam; M. A. Sreenivasan; G. D. Patil; B. L. Patil. 

Orissa. Raghunath Misra; Harihar Patel; B. K. Deo; K. Panigrahy; 
P. Bhagat; A. Sahoo; Anchal Majhi; Ghasiram Majhi; C. S. S. Bhoi. 

Punjab. Jathedar Udham Singh Nagoke; Sardar Basant Singh; Col. 
Rajadhiraj Maheshindra Singh of Patiala; Karan Singh Malik; Ram 
Singh; Dhanna Singh Ghulshan. 

Rajasthan. Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur; Professor Madan Singh. 

Uttar Pradesh. Raja Raghavendra Singh of Mankapur; Raja Ram 
Singh of Gangawal; Raja Mahendra Singh of Bhadawar; Wahidur 
Rahman; Sant Saran Shukla; N. R. Sharma; Munnu Singh. 

West Bengal. R. P. Patodia. 



Akali Dal, 56-7, 59, 113, 115; relations 
with Swatantra, 213, 225-9, 233 ; see also 
Punjabi suba 

All-India Agriculturalists' Federation, 13, 
65-6, 69-72, 77, 118, 120, 135, 143 

All-India Landholders' Conference, 15 

All-India Manufacturers' Association, 75 

Ambedkar, Dr B., 33, 231 

Arnin, Nanu, 140, 186 

Andhra, 16, 73, 80, 1 17-18, 120, 144, 199- 
200, 236, 265, 266, 305, 326-7, 328, 
337, 338 

Aney, M. S., 133-4, 239-40 

Anglo-Indians, 140 

Annadorai, C. N., 215-17; see also Dravida 
Munnetra Kazhagam 

aristocrats, disunity and unity among, 6-8, 
13, 14-16, 28, 35, 59, 151 ; support for 
British, 7, 14, 24-5; outlook of, 24-9, 
44, 127-9; and Congress policy, 18-23, 
24-9> 35, 39-40, 77, 84-7, 126-7, 237, 
261; reluctance to join parties, 46, 
155 ff. ; support for Swatantra, 62, 68, 71, 
72, 112-29, 145, 15 1, 262-3; Swatantra 
reliance on, 144, 246 ff., 256, 267; 
organizational limitations of, 160 ff., 
256; 262-3, an d Swatantra business- 
professional groups, 159, 165 ff., 178, 
180 ff., 254-6, 265, 336, 337; see also 
Ganatantra Parishad, Janata Party, and 
individual aristocrats 

Arya Samaj, 36, 131, 133 

Associated Cement Companies, 173; see 
also Khatau 

Bailey, F. G., 46, 50 

Banswara, House of, 122, 125, 310 

Baria, see Devgadh-Baria 

Baroda, House of, 23, 125 

Bastar, Maharaja of, 28, 125, 127 

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 99 

Bharatpur, Maharaja of, 126, 336 

Bharatpur, Raja of, 15, 118, 122, 126, 
151-2, 161, 163 

Bhinai, Raja of, 122 

bhooswami sangh (Madhya Pradesh), 119 

Bihar, 47-50, 63, 72, 1 12-13, 121, 124, 
144, 145, 151, 153, 158, 161, 165-71, 
181, 230, 262, 265, 266; see also Janata 
Party, Jharkand Party; Jan Congress, 
Ramgarh, and Singh (Jankinandan) 

Bikaner, Maharaja of, 28, 46, 121, 125, 151 

Bilaspur, Raja of, 117, 124, 145, 169, 181-2, 
183, 229 

Birla, G. D., 40, 41, 172, 186 

Birla, R. K., 186 

Bombay Plan, 16, 41-2 

Brahmins, 10, 16, 18, 35, 72, 77, in, 113, 

Brecher, M., 43, 60, 259 

business classes, outlook of, 16, 36-43, 
141; and Congress policy, 12, 13, 17, 
21-2, 27, 33, 39-43, 176; support for 
Swatantra, 65-9, 78, 140-1, 168, 171 ff., 
180, 182, 185-7, 224, 263 ff., 336; see 
also Forum of Free Enterprise 

Cariappa, General K. M., 72 

Chamber of Princes, 14, 24, 28 

Chatterjee, N. C, 57-8, 103, 132-3, 145, 
147, 179 

Chettiars, 16, in 

China, Jan Sangh policy towards, 55, 
219-20; Swatantra policy towards, 206, 
220, 243; invasion by, 190-1, 206 

Christians, 96, 132-3, 135, 140, 304-5 

Commonweal Party, 56, 112 

Communist Party of India (CPI), 63, 67-8, 
73, 80, 113, 129, 132, 205; and DMK, 
216; and Swatantra, 212-13, 264, 337; 
and Swatantra-AkaliDal alliance, 226-7, 

communalism, 97, 103, 210; in right 
radical parties, 52 ff., 218-19, 226, 229 

Congress Party, 11, 46-7, 109-11, 1 13-14, 
115-17, 118, 119, 120, 123, 124, 125, 
126, 129, 130, 158, 169-70, 173-4, 179, 
212, 222, 230, 238, 246-9, 259, 261-3, 
267; post-independence policies of, 
12-14, 21, 42, 53, 66, 68-79 passim, 92, 
147-8, 190; social bases of, 17-19, 22, 
58, 59-61, 62, 146, 246, 247-8; and 
aristocrats, 26-8, 121-9, 261; right 
wing of, 53, 59-61, 171-2, 235-8, 258, 
261, 267, 333 

Congress Socialist Party (CSP), 41, 82, 84 

constitutionalism, Munshi's commitment 
to, 101-3 ; Swatantra's commitment to, 
249-50, 267-8 

cow slaughter, ban on, 98-9, 264, 267, 337 

da Costa, E. P. W., no, 117 

Dandekar, N., 135-6, 140, 144, 180, 186; 
and Gonda constituency, 182-3; elec- 
toral difficulties of, 247, 336; in Lok 
Sabha, 240-1 

Darbhanga, Maharajadhiraj of, 72, 113, 

Dehati Janata Party, 80, 1 14-15; see also 

Democratic Party (Andhra), 73, 80, 117 

Democratic Research Service, 67 

Desai, C. C, 136, 186 

Desai, Morarji, 123 

Devgadh-Baria, Maharaja of, 124, 144, 
162, 182, 230-1, 247, 336 

Dhrol, Thakur of, 183, 336 

Dravida Kazhagam, 215-16 

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), 53, 
98, 203; demand for secession by, 203, 



204-5, 20 7> an d electoral understand- 
ings, 213, 214-18; and CPI, 215-16; 
and Swatantra, 229, 236, 264, 266, 338, 


Dungarpur, Maharawal of, 119, 122, 124, 
125, 129, 137, 151; as Swatantra leader 
in Rajasthan, 163-5, 242; and seat for 
Masani, 181; and Jan Sanghis, 221-2, 
229-30; and relations with Congress 
conservatives, 237 

Duverger, M., 178, 245, 316 

economic policy, of post-independence 
Congress, 12-16 passim, 20-2; of 
Gandhians, 30-3; of militant Hindus, 
35> 54 - 5s 2I 9> 22 9j °f Indian business, 
16, 40 ff., 66-7, 78; of the Ganatantra 
Parishad, 50; of the RRP, 52; of the 
Agriculturalists' Federation, 70 ; of the 
Swatantra Party, 87 ff., 103 ff., 119, 
140-2, 188-201, 219, 256 

Eighteen-Fifty-Seven, rebellion of, 14, 28, 
38-9, 83 

elections, 1951-2, 212-14; I957> 212-14; 
1962, 217-18, 221-3, 227, 232-3, 239, 
2 55; 1967, 228, 261-8 

electoral symbols, 80, 166-7, l68 5 2 33 _ 4> 

Federation of Indian Chambers of Com- 
merce and Industry, 16 

finance, 17 1-9, 263, 336 

foreign policy, of militant Hindus, 55, 207; 
of Swatantra, 189, 205, 207; in Swa- 
tantra-Jan Sangh relations, 219-20, 

2 43 
Forum of Free Enterprise, 13, 42, 65-71, 
72, 75, 76, 78-80 passim, 143, 193; see 
also Shroff 

Ganatantra Parishad, 47, 48-50, 56, 57, 
59, 72, no, 128, 144, 153, I79> 216, 
218, 233, 262, 265, 267; merger with 
Swatantra, 1 15-17, 118; see also Kala- 
handi and Patna 

Gandhi, M. K., 12/17, 30-2, 34~5) 5i> 62, 
74, 77, 85, 99, 100, 107-8 

Gandhism, 54, 71, 83, 101, 104, 131, 141, 
259; in Swatantra Party, 87-9, 100, 
1 13-14, 191-3, 196-7 

Ganesan, S., in, 210 

Goa, Swatantra view on seizure of, 207 

Gram Raj Party, 80, 114, see also Paliwal 

Gujarat, 16, 38, 63, 72, 118-26 passim; 
131, 136, 140, 144-5. I5i, i5 2 -3> 162, 
176, 182-3, 186, 210-11, 236, 247, 
262-6 passim, 297, 311, 312, 336, 337, 

Gujarat Khedut Sangh, 72 

Gumanpura, Lt. Gen. Thakur of, 136 

Gupta, R. G., 140, 236 

Gwalior, House of, 125, 336 

Hanumanthaya, K., 100, 131, 333 
harijans, see scheduled castes 
Harrison, S., 38, 99, 245, 248 
Hegde, J., 77, 108, 135* 138 
Himachal Pradesh, 117, 18 1-2; see also 

Hindu Code, 60, 141, 150, 191, 210 
Hindu Mahasabha, 47, 50-2, 53, 55, 56-8, 
101, 105; and Swatantra, 242, 244 

Imam, J. M., 133, 233 

Independent Progressive Legislature 

Party, 114; see also Paliwal 
Indian Civil Service, role in Swatantra of 

former members of, 77, 134 ff., 186, 

187, 209, 262 
Indian Committee for Cultural Freedom, 

Indian Iron and Steel Company, 173 
Indian National Democratic Congress, 

73, 110-12, 130, 145, 215, 248 
industrialization, see economic policy 

Jains, 16, 37 

Jaipur, Maharaja of, 122-5, I2 7> i8i s 1833 

Jaipur, Maharaniof, 122-6, 127, 129, 144, 

152, 155, 161, 164-5, i74-5j 182, 221, 

230, 237, 247, 338 
Jaisalmer, Maharajkumar of, 122, 126, 145 
Jan Congress (Bihar), 72, 113, 248; see also 

Jankinandan Singh 
Jana Congress (Orissa), 238, 265 
Janata Party, 47-8, 59, 68, 80, 1 12-13, 118, 

121, 166-8, 169, 233; see also Ramgarh 
Jan Sangh, 36, 47, 50-8, 61, 62, 80-1, 83, 

101, 104-5, no, 132, 203, 208, 242-3, 

258; language policy of, 97, 203, 330; 

finances of, 176-7, 336; merger talks 

with Swatantra, 80-1, 213, 214-15, 218- 

25, 229, 240, 242, 244, 267, 338-9; m 

1967 elections, 261, 263-4 
Jasdan, Yuvraj of, 126 
Jats, 15-16, 18; see also Bharatpur 
Jhalawar, Maharaja of, 124 
Jharkand Party, 106, no, 230 
Jodhpur, House of, 23, 59, 121, 123, 125-6 
Joshi, Maganlal, 131 
Justice Party, 29, 39, 1 17-18, I3 2 ~3 

Kalahandi, Maharaja of, 49, 72, 1 15-17, 
128-9, 180; as Lok Sabha leader, 239- 
40, 242; see also Ganatantra Parishad 

Kaluhera, Rajkumar of, 122, 124, 125 

Kamaraj, K., in, 170 

Kamath, H. V., 231 

Karapatri, Swami, 52, 57; see also Ram 
Rajya Parishad 

Kejriwal, P., 125, 169, 183 

Khatau, D., 140 

Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party, 133 

Kisan sabha, 70; see also Ranga 

Kothari, R., 238, 245, 246, 258 

Kripalani, J. B., 133, 182, 243 

Krishikar Lok Paksh, 73, 80, 107, 117, 
118; see also Ranga 

Krishnamma, T., 135 

kshatrya mahasabha, 1 18-19, 124, 218; see 
also Mahida 

Kutch, Maharajkumar of, 121, 126, 144, 
182, 338 

Kutch Rajput Sabha, 119 

laissez faire, 31, 42, 66-7, 69, 193, 194, 



land reform, 21, 30-1, 46, 69-71, 85 ; see 

also Nagpur Resolution 
language policy, 36, 97-8, 189, 202-5, 

207, 220, 330 
Latchanna, G., 120, 199-200 
liberalism, in Swatantra Party, 38, 103-4, 

140-2, 148, 187, 189-92, 201, 207-11, 

243, 249-60 passim 
Lobo Prabhu, J. M., 135, 137, 138, 208 

Madhok, B., 338 

Madras, 18-19, 53, 65, 68, 69, 73, 77-8, 
98, 1 10-12, 118, 130, 144, 145, 203-10 
passim, 216, 236-7, 248, 264, 265, 299, 
30i 3 313, 336, 337, 338 

Madhya Pradesh, 52, 119, 121, 122, 124, 
125, 179, 292-3, 336 

Maharashtra, 121, 125, 140 

Mahida, N., 119, 145, 152, 240-1 

Mankapur, Raja of, 12 1-2, 145, 154, 
160-2, 183, 223 

Mariswamy, S. S., 110-11, 218, 236-7 

Marwaris, 16, 37, 39 

Marxism, impact on rightist doctrine, 54, 
194, 197-9, 253 

Masani, M. R., 66, 67-71, 73, 76-9, 82-3, 
101, 104-7, i J 3, 133; and aristocrats, 
84-7, 127, 153, 155, 157, 159-60, 
163-71 ; and middle-class liberalism, 
76, 103-4, 140, 142* I47> 148, 149-50, 
252-3; and Swatantra doctrine, 192-3, 
I 97 - 9, 205-6; and party organization, 
160-1, 185, 187, 233-4, 262, 336; and 
party finance, 75, 78, 172, 175, 177-8, 
180; in elections, 106, 126, 180-2, 
223-4, 247, 255; in Lok Sabha, 239-41; 
on alliances, 212-13, 219, 222-4, 230-2, 
242-4, 263 

Mehta, Asok, 49, 50, 298 

Mehta, Vadilal, 140, 186 

Menon, V. K. K., 60, 206, 243 

Menon, V. P., 77, 108, 124, 125, 127, 
134-5, 138, 145, 157, 251 

militant hinduism, 34-6, 39, 44-5, 51, 83, 
240; see also Hindu Mahasabha, Jan 
Sangh, Munshi 

Moderates (Congress), 100, 140, 208-9 

Mody, Sir H. P., 82-3, 87, 105, 106, 140, 
147, 149, 168, 172, 180, 193 

Mody, P., 186, 336 

Mookerjee, S. P., 52-3, 56, 58, 59-60, 241, 

Morris-Jones, W. H., 50, 104, 153, 245, 
246, 251, 254 

Munshi, K. M., 36, 73, 82-3, 86, 90-1, 
95-103, 104-5, 113, 114, 129, 137, 158, 
166, 169, 191; and the Indian tradition 
and militant nationalism, 36, 86, 90-1, 
95-103, 104-5, 147, 149, 191, 229; and 
Ramgarh, 158, 166, 169; and aristo- 
crats, 85, 124, 166; and foreign policy, 

Murthy, R. V., 136, 140, 157, 180 

Muslims, 51, 53, 96-7, 114, 133, 230, 313 

Mysore, 69, 70, 77, 120, 133, 134-5, 138, 

144, 265, 266, 313, 336 

Nagoke, Sardar U. S., 72, 73, 80, 1 13-15, 

145, 225, 226-7, 236 

Nagpur Resolution, 21, 62, 65, 67, 68-70, 

72-5, 79, 80, 107, 113, 114 
Narayan, J., 78 

'National Democratic Party', 56 
nationalization, see economic policy 
Nehru, J., 10, 68, 75, 174; and reform/ 
radicalism, 12, 20, 21, 24, 29, 51, 60, 61, 
63, 80, 83, 94, 102, 137, 235, 246; 
moderation of, 19 S., 60-1, 79; and 
businessmen, 41, 42, 174, 294 

Orissa, 22, 47, 48, 49, 50, 56, 63, 1 15-17, 
123, 128, 131, 144, 153, 162, 179-80, 
262-3, 265, 266, 288 

Padayachi, S. S. R., 111-12, 145, 152 
Pakistan, views toward, 51, 55, 96, 107, 

206, 207, 219-20 
Paliwal, S. K. D., 73, 1 13-14, 130, 147, 

160, 162; and aristocrats, 154, 157, 159; 

resigns from Swatantra, 145, 223; and 

Swatantra organization, 80, 233-4; and 

Jan Sangh, 230 
Parsis, 16, 38-40, 71, 140; see also Masani, 

Mody, Shroff, Tatas 
Pasricha, Col. H. R., 135, 141-3, 191, 229, 

Patel, Bhailalbhai, 124, 13 1-2, 136, 145, 

Patel, Dahyabhai, 131, 133, 170 
Patel, Pashabhai, 186 
Patel, Sardar V., 19-20, 23, 53, 77, 86, 

102, 106, 108, 113, 127, 131, 137, 155 
Patiala, Maharaja of, 72, 114, 121, 122, 

126, 127, 225, 228 
Patiala, Rajas of, 122, 126 
Patidars, 16, 140, 263 
Patil, S. K., 113, 333 
Patna, Maharaja of, 49, 128-9, 180; see 

also Ganatantra Parishad 
Patnaik, B., 116, 117, 179 
Peasants' and Workers' Party, 80, 230 
planning, see economic policy 
Praja Socialist Party, 74, no, 113; and 

Swatantra, 230-1 
Prasad, R., 13, 60, 85, 150 
Punjab, 53, 72, 73, 80, 102, 103, 1 13-15, 

119, 121-2, 126, 144, 145, 203-5, 210, 

225-9, 233, 236, 292-3 
Punjab Inquiry Commission, 102-3, 

Punjabi suba, 103, 203-5, 207, 225-6, 227, 


Raghuvira, Dr, 203, 223 

Rajagopalachari, C, 19, 66, 67, 73, 82-3, 
97, 104-6, 1 10-17 passim, 129-31, 135, 
!37, 149, 208 ; and aristocrats, 86-7, 155, 
158-9, 181; and conservative-Gandhian 
positions, 32-4, 73-4, 76, 87-95, 101, 
138-9, 147, 192, 199, 251-4 passim; and 
Swatantra' s formal doctrine, 14 1-3, 
188, 190, 191, 194, 199, 201-2; on 
Pakistan, 51, 96; and communal group- 
ings, 97, 103, 149; language policy of, 
98, 203, 204-5; and pacifism, 87, 205-6; 
and mergers and adjustments, 212, 213, 
214, 227, 228, 243; and DMK, 215-17, 
338; on Jan Sangh, 219-20, 221 



Rajasthan, 15-16, 18, 21, 22, 28, 37, 39, 
46, 52, 56, 59, 63, 118, 119, 121-6, 129, 
131, 137, 144, 151-4 passim, 161, 162-5, 
180-2, 168, 219-31 passim, 236-42 
passim, 262-7 passim, 283-4, 290, 33^, 
338, 339 

Ramgarh, Raja of, 47-8, 68, 72, 73, 1 12-13, 
114, 115, 117, 118, 121, 124, 127, 128, 
144, 145, 151, 152, 155, 157, 158, 161, 
165-71, 224, 262; and seat for Masani, 
181; and Jharkand merger, 230; leaves 
Swatantra, 229, 265; and Congress, 
2 37, 336; see also Janata Party 

Ram Rajya Parishad, 47, 50-1, 52, 53, 
56-8, 62, 83, 93, 101, 104, 105, no, 
118; and Swatantra Party, 231, 242 

Ranga, N. G., 69-70, 72-3,77,78, 80, 82-3, 
101, 104-5, 106, 113, 114, 1 17-18, 120, 
127, 133, 147, 193, 196, 266; and aristo- 
crats, 84-6, 158; and peasant populism, 
41, 89-90; in Congress Party, 106-7; 
on mergers and alliances, 80, 230; on 
Jan Sangh, 219; in Lok Sabha, 239-41; 
in Chittoor by-election, 204, 218 

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, 47, 55, 

Reddys, 16, 107 

religion, Nehru's outlook on, 13, 29, 60; 
right radicals' outlook on, 34-6, 50 ff.; 
and India's business communities, 
38-9, 140-3; and the Swatantra Party, 
82-108 passim; 149-50, 191-2, 210-n, 
218 ff., 243, 251, 264 

Republican Party of India, 231-2 

Round Table Conferences, 28, 41, 82 

'Rulers' Union', 13, 23 

Ruthnaswamy, Prof. M., 132-3, 179, 230; 
social outlook of, 141-2, 191; on aristo- 
crats, 155-6, 157; DMK assistance to, 

Sahay, K. B., 48, 112, 169 

Sampurnanand, 86, 100, 165, 237, 339 

Sanatan Dharma Sabha, 36 

satyagraha, 48, 249 

Saurashtra Girasdars' Association, 119 

Saurashtra Khedut Sangh, 72, 118 

Savarkar, V. D., 35, 51, 57 

scheduled castes, 31 ff., 120, 125, 199-200, 

secularism, 105, 149-50, 251, 256, 264 
Shastri, P. V., 133-4, 2 39 - 4° 
Shenoy, B. R., 136 

Shroff, A. D., 66, 75, 137, 140, 145, 180 

Sikhs, 96, 97, 149; in Swatantra and Akali 
Dal, 1 14-15, 225-8; see also Nagoke, 
Punjabi suba 

Singh, Ayuwan, 164, 165 

Singh, B. L., 70, 135, 145 

Singh, Basant, 115, 199-200, 225, 226 

Singh, Bhairon, 221-2, 223, 242 

Singh, Devi, 163, 164 

Singh, Fateh, 228 

Singh, Gurnam, 226, 228 

Singh, Jaipal, 106, 230; see also Jharkand 

Singh, Jankinandan, 72, 113, 124, 161, 166, 
167, 168; see also Jan Congress 

Singh, Kapur, 228 

Singh, Tara, 204, 228 

social policy, n, 39; of the Congress, n, 
12, 13, 19, 29-30, 60-1; of Gandhians, 
39 ff.; of militant Hindus, 35-6, 54, 57; 
of RRP, 52, 57; of Swatantra Party, 85, 
88-95, 96-9, 103-4, 105, I4I-3, 150, 
189, 191-3, 199-200, 252, 255 

Sreenivasan, M. A., 125, 135, 138-9 

Sukhadia, M., 123-4, 126 

Tamilnad Toilers' Party, 56, 111-12 
Tata, J. R. D., 173 
Tata, House of, 66, 75, 224 
Thevar, U. M., 112, 328 
Tilak, B. G., 35-6, 108 
Tinker, H., 53, 60, 100 
trusteeship, 17, 31-3, 41, 90, 91, 84, 156, 
192, 193, 195, 199, 320 

Udaipur, House of, 121, 126 
universal suffrage, 137-8, 298-9 
Uttar Pradesh, 1 13-14, 121, 122, 144, 154, 
161, 223, 263, 265, 266, 323 

Vaidya, M., 66, 68, 72, 75, 140, 157, 193 
Vajpayee, A. B., 182, 223, 224 
Vanniyars, 111-12, 118, 119; see also 

Commonweal Party, Tamilnad Toilers' 

Party, Padayachi 
Vyas, J. N., 131, 222-3, 236 

Wankaner, Yuvraj of, 126 

Weber, M., 16, 37-8, 41, 245, 246 

Weiner, M., 43, 58, 139 

West Bengal, 39, 48, 132, 140, 173, 178-9 

Zamindara League (Punjab), 119 



! 1 

32 o 

o .< 





1 * 

ea « 


-3 %a 

sC . -2. 

The Swatantra Party and Indian main 

3 ISbE D3371 A3014